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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

Ibrahim taken to task, with facts

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In response to the letter ‘Cr Ibrahim rocks on, and on’: Whose half truth is real?

1. Is there such a thing as perpetrator distress? Deeply distressing are the five pro-rock councillors’ choices over the past 2.5 years to pursue legal loopholes that allow them to now spend $1 million of Byron Shire Council’s scarce funds on a pet rock project, without ever asking the ratepayers what they think. There has been no public exhibition of this project.

2. The benefit of three years of science? But the pro-rock councillors voted three months into their term (on 20 December 2012) that they would build the ‘interim’ rock wall at Belongil. That reflects how little information they needed to assemble.

3. Yes, Sol went on record speaking in March 2015 to a favoured coastal engineer from the Gold Coast, who is now engaged in building the $1mill rock wall at Belongil.

4. There has never been a Greens majority Council in Byron Shire. [or Greens controlled, Ed]

5. There are many documents to planned retreat, including (i) ‘section 149 certificates’ issued since 1988 to every purchaser of land in the coastal hazard zone at Belongil and (ii) consent conditions on every Development Approval saying the building must be removed when coastal erosion approaches.

6. The geobag wall at Manfred Street is still there because somebody derailed the previous Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) in its 11th hour. The public are still in the dark as to why that CZMP was pulled. It proposed planned retreat, which didn’t suit the pro-rock lobby.

7. The so-called ‘interim’ beach access stabilisation (IBAS) works have been estimated to cost $200k to remove, should they not be required once a CZMP is in place in a year or two. That estimate assumes the rocks haven’t shifted, as could happen in a mega-storm. Once smashed to pieces, the wall is impossible to remove and the stray rocks destroy what the Shire truly values – its clean beaches and clean water.

8. If Sol supported democracy and public involvement, he’d suspend the IBAS and put it out on public exhibition.

9. There is currently some sand in front of the current rock walls at Belongil. If one looks up or down the coast from there, one sees at Tyagarah or at the Wreck how wide the beach would be but for those rocks. Council’s consultant for the CZMP has stated that in a decade or two, there won’t be any natural sand in front of the rocks. They will be permanently water-front, unless sand is imported (but from where?).

10. The same and other experts estimate that sand drifting clockwise around the Bay was held up in the past by the Jonson Street carpark. It no longer is – new sand now bypasses that headland. This Council resolved in December 2012 and again in February 2014 to remove the three spur groynes seaward of the carpark. The experts think this will release sand towards Belongil but it and the sand that remains at Jonson Street are a drop in the bucket of what would be needed at Belongil if we wanted a beach in front of the rocks on their current alignment.

11. There aren’t any houses down-drift (west) of the end of the current home-made rock walls but there is a nesting area for shore birds. How come we accept the threat to them?

12. The state government’s Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) said they would not support a CZMP with a rock wall at Belongil unless there was sand replacement to maintain a beach in front of the wall. The pro-rock councillors turned a blind eye to the impacts and stuck to their guns. That’s how intent they are on rocks.

Cr Duncan Dey

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