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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Parliament told to stop Belongil rock walls

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Greens state MP and former Byron mayor Jan Barham.
Greens state MP and former Byron mayor Jan Barham told state parliament this week about the controversial Belongil rock walls, and why they should be stopped.

The campaign against the controversial plan to build rock walls at Byron Bay’s Belongil beachfront to protect private properties has ramped up, with state parliament told it must be stopped.

Greens MLC and former Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham told MPs yesterday that the rock-walls plan, being pushed by a majority pro-development faction of Byron council, would result in the walls being built without a NSW government-approved Coastal Zone Management Plan.

Ms Barham said experts had warned that the so-called ‘interim’ rock walls proposed by council could increase coastal erosion, cause the loss of the beach and impact on public safety.

She said the government should intervene and halt the works, which are currently at the early planning and tendering stage.

She also questioned Minister for Crown Lands (the National Party’s Kevin Humphries) about his approval for the works and made an adjournment speech on the issue.

Her move comes ahead of a major protest rally this Sunday afternoon in Byron Bay against the rock walls, which have been backed by Crs Sol Ibrahim, Rose Wanchap, Allan Hunter, Di Woods and Chris Cubis.

Ms Barham moved that:

1. That this House notes that Byron Shire Council has resolved to construct rockwalls at Belongil Beach to protect private properties, without a New South Wales Government approved Coastal Zone Management Plan.

2. That this House notes that:

(a) the ‘interim’ rockwall works proposed by Byron Shire Council have been identified by the NSW Coastal Panel as potentially causing increased coastal erosion and impact on adjoining Crown land, the loss of the beach, impacts for public safety, and

(b) since 1988, planning instruments for the Byron Shire have:

(i) identified coastal lands subject to erosion risk in the Byron Environmental Plan 1988 and Development Control Plan 1988 as immediate, 50 year and 100 year precincts,

(ii) prescribed planning provisions that limit the size and scale of structures and the requirement for structures to be relocatable,

(iii) defined development consent conditions for the 50 year and 100 year precincts that deem that ‘development within this precinct will be granted on the understanding that any consent granted will be subject to the proviso that if the erosion escarpment come within 50 metres of any building then the development consent will lapse’.

3. That this House calls on the Government to oppose and halt the construction of rockwalls at Belongil Beach, in recognition of:

(a) the history of policy and planning instruments that have defined these lands as being located in an identified coastal erosion risk zone,

(b) the potential impact of the works on the amenity and safety of the beach,

(c) the negative impact on the tourism industry,

(d) the lack of definition for the term ‘interim’ in the Environment and Planning Assessment Act 1979, the Coastal Protection Act 1979 or any other relevant planning instrument, and the lack of criteria for assessing works described as ‘interim’,

(e) the implications for state-wide coastal management and public liability of permitting coastal works contrary to decades of historical planning and carried out in the absence of an approved coastal management plan, and

(f) the community opposition to the works and the spending of public funds for the benefit of private landholders who were duly notified on Section 149 Planning Certificates of the risks associated with purchasing properties that were subject to the ‘retreat’ policies of the Council and the Government.

(Notice given 4 June 2015—expires Notice Paper No. 30)

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  1. Thanks Jan … bad luck Sal, Rose & Co can’t put their own agendas aside and do something right for the environment and the community they purport to represent. Can’t wait till the next election…

  2. Rosco, I notice that Jan didn’t inform State Parliament that she is on record for voting for exactly the same interim rock wall proposal at Manfred St April 2000.
    The State Government is responsible for the decision to use geo-bags.
    Jan’s time would be better spent lobbying the State to pay for that disastrous decision.

  3. We are good at not thinking about peoples well being. Imagine if Lismore and Grafton councils decided to stop supporting the levy banks around their towns and we returned to the flooding of the 1960’s. Lets get real!

  4. people’s well being! everyone knew about erosion and loss of a whole street at belongil, that’s why land was so cheap there in 1980s. its a small strip lying between flooding river and changing beach. yes let’s get reall.


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