Jan Hackett, Belongil
Sol Ibrahim makes some breath-taking and outrageous statements in his Q&A in the Byron Shire Echo (11 November).
While each comment might sound plausible and reasonable if considered out of context and without history, Sol’s drive to spend ratepayers’ funds on damaging, quick-fix, so-called ‘protection works’ at the Belongil spit is as ‘ethically bankrupt and economically irresponsible’ (to use Sol’s words) as can be.
Sol has a penchant for scaremongering. He compares the costs of erecting, then removing (a feat that has no precedent) a rock wall, to the cost of clearing away all the residents and businesses that have sensibly built hundreds of metres from the dunes.
The City of the Gold Coast has an information sheet that states:
Dunal areas are critical for the protection of beaches. They are the natural ‘buffer zones’ that reduce the impact of fluctuations of the shoreline and erosion by the sea. The provision and proper management of adequately sized dunal ‘buffer zones’ is the most effective means of protection against the loss of … beaches.’ – and I would suggest, the loss of land and developed sites such as the Tree House, the Bistro and motels situated south of Childe Street.
Everybody knows full well that there will come a time when the Belongil spit will cease to be. A healthy well managed dunal ‘buffer zone’ will protect the spit for decades to come.
By erecting yet another rock wall, one that will undermine its neighbour’s rock dumps and further scour the beach of sand, we are destroying our best natural protection, and speeding up, rather than postponing, the loss of the spit itself.
Surely it is still possible to get a majority on council who understands this?
The five councillors advancing this costly mismanagement are indeed becoming the infamous 5. The current push to extend these rock walls are ill-considered and in the long run, will limit everyone’s use and enjoyment of the area.
It is possible to seek out sustainable, long term, cost effective, ‘maximum benefit for all’ solutions to coastal erosion. Others are doing it up and down the east coast. Why can’t we? Council simply must wait for a holistic, comprehensive coastal management plan to be implemented before ‘moving forward’.