Most who become political activists view all events through the prism (prison?) of their political beliefs. This leads to extraordinary conclusions such as those delivered by your correspondent Dalian Pugh in last week’s Echo. His claims are either wrong or challengeable, in their entirety. Good effort. Let’s look at some of them, I’ll paraphrase to save space.
1.‘ Sol Ibrahim intends to construct walls at the Belongil to protect private homes and rob us of our public beach.’ Well, wrong on all counts. Sol is not the Mayor or even the deputy Mayor and is simply a member, although more articulate than the others, of the majority of Councillors who have voted to rock wall those Council owned lands that project within and beside the already rock walled private residences. Far from denying public access the work will protect and enhance it.
2.‘ The rising sea thing.’ The last big sea level rise in Byron Bay was during Cyclone Wanda in 1974 when sea levels were elevated to something like 2 Metres above mean high tide. General sea level elevation as an erosion force is only relevant in the historical sense, the 1 million year sense. I don’t think that even Dalian Pugh would maintain that sea levels have risen in Byron Bay over the past 40yrs by 2 M. The reality is that you could challenge that they have risen even 1 cm. in that space of time. Sea level rising in the sense of land erosion at least, is simply a journalistic term used by the ignorant to feed the ignorant and has no bearing on coastal erosion in the human life cycle sense, the 100yr. sense. Such erosion is governed by other factors entirely. What about the Pacific Islands ? They shout. Well, I postulate, those claims are also a political stunt. Charles Darwin proved about 200yrs back that the Pacific Islands were sinking when he found sea shells at 20,000 ft. in the Andes. The problem from the Pacific Islander’s p.o.v. is that no one can claim compensation from the ‘force’, whatever that may be, better claim from the human face, global warming. Long term they are goners.
3.‘Ibrahim’s walls will accelerate erosion of the Belongil Beach in front of the walls.’ Well, no again on all counts. You only have to look up the beach a bit to see the results of the ’74 wall in front of the town. Plenty of sand there. Beach erosion and rock walls are a complex issue and can only be viewed in local circumstance, not globally. Rock walls have proven to be very effective in controlling beach erosion in the zone between Cape Byron and Kirra Point and the results can be viewed by anyone who has the interest. Much easier to shout meaningless slogans, eh!
The rest of Pugh’s letter is simple political sloganeering, the only question it raises is, when is Tom ‘ he who pulls the green strings’ Talbot [sic] going to announce Pugh’s candidature for the Green team in the next council election ?
The elephant in the room regarding the Belongil and which does not seem to get a mention from any of the combatants is, what is the Commissioner for Railways going to do? He owns about 95 per cent of the land between the town wall and the private walls out on the Belongil and he’s got a lot of real estate to protect but, hey, that’s another story.
Lester Brien, Byron Bay
Dailan Pugh is not a ‘correspondent’ for this publication or for the Byron Echo. He is an independent ecologist and his opinions are his own. – Ed