Duncan Dey, Byron Shire Greens councillor
In early 2013, council changed tack and has worked since to get rocks onto the beach at Belongil. This will happen in December 2014 if the last issue in its way is resolved at the council meeting on Thursday 30 October. That issue is funding.
Shares in the construction are moving around, with questions over the state government’s $300,000 share and over contributions by the ‘benefiting neighbours’. In the end, council could be funding up to $600,000 towards the first of the three sites, at Manfred Street.
Council’s budgeting system has ways of making that money available but in essence it is about 1 per cent of our annual budget and of the order of 10 per cent of our annual infrastructure spend. You can repair a lot of roadway for that much, for example.
Recent advice from the state funding authority (Office of Environment & Heritage) urges council to hold off on the construction and instead complete our well-advanced Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the Byron Bay Embayment. The plan is considering exactly the question of whether ‘to rock or not to rock’. That is the question… but it has not been asked of the community. Or rather, when it was asked during preparation of a previous CZMP, some people didn’t like the answer.
I have given Notice of a Motion to be debated by council on 30 October, to put the rocks project on hold and instead focus on the CZMP. The process for the CZMP includes community consultation on matters which include the rocks question. The agenda for the meeting should be on http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/meetings from Tuesday 21 October.