Is Byron Bay in danger of being turned into Dubai Bay?
The coastline of the bay is facing a real and present danger from our current council. The majority of councillors, however well intentioned, are clearly voting to establish engineering solutions to beach and sand movements within the bay. This is demonstrated consistently in Council meetings and has reached a critical point.
This trend cannot be stopped by having a Greens mayor. He is just one vote amongst nine councillors. He has no veto.
The decision to build a rock wall on Belongil Beach is now being followed up with ideas for a series of beach groynes and to mechanically extract and pump sand from Tallow Beach across Arakwal National Park to main beach. What will be next? Infilling the bay for sand sculpting and artificial islands to create more real estate opportunities?
The last meeting of council demonstrated the farcical position we are now facing. Council could not even agree to the operation and composition of a consultation group as prescribed under the Coastal Protection Act 1979. Such a group would normally have representatives from coastal agencies, local aboriginal groups and community representatives to provide ongoing feedback. Both an amended proposal and original motion were voted down.
Where does this leave our coastline? In serious risk. The votes of the minority group of councillors who support natural management solutions for our coastline is not enough.
Decisions to be made by this council over the coming months will determine the shape and reality of the Byron Bay coastline for generations to come. People need to let councillors know their views on these matters before it is too late.
The time to act is now.
Cr Paul Spooner, Byron Bay