At Byron Shire Council’s meeting last Thursday, five of nine councillors were rock solid on their pet project to put rocks on the beach at Belongil.
The last administrative step is now complete: funding for the wall on what is left of Manfred Street. The stub of ‘street’ itself is a monument to the futility of holding back the sea. There was a whole street block out there in the now surf zone.
Sadly, I have just spent two years asking the shire to tighten its belt and to put up with potholes, etc while we get the shire’s finances in order. I thank the Shire for coming with us on that.
I’m sad however to report that, after you scrimped and saved on almost everything, the little pots of money that council was able to put aside in reserves for such tasks are to be raided for rocks on our beach. And you the shire haven’t been asked whether you want it.
The election in 2012 is cited as a mandate – not unlike the broken promises of Tony Abbott. On Thursday I asked the five rock councillors to wait and to ask your permission for the rock project, by using due process in a Coastal Zone Management Plan. They won’t.
Instead, funding will come (in descending value) from the shire’s:
1) Infrastructure Renewal Reserve, set up to make us dollar-ready as well as shovel-ready to ask for government grants anywhere in the shire;
2) Coastal Rectification Works, for the whole shire’s coast;
3) Infrastructure Services Carryover Reserve, a buffer against our next round of natural disasters (eg landslips);
4) Beach Protection Works, for the whole coast; and
5) Employee Leave Entitlements Reserve, for staff needs!
Your funding as above will be supplemented by contributions from the ‘benefiting neighbours’ of the walls. Their amounts are still being negotiated, hence the amounts you are paying are ‘Confidential’ until the deals with the neighbours are done.
Byron Shire councillor Duncan Dey