I used to be a regular attender of Byron Shire Council’s meetings. About four months ago I stopped going as they were too depressing.
With Cr Wanchap’s defection to the pro-developers they now have a majority on council, despite her strong views expressed at many Greens meetings of her commitment to the Greens. For an example see her clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLNEjfA0r48
But I was encouraged to attend the last council meeting because of the many issues at stake.
I sat in silence for about three quarters of an hour while the gallery got verbally angrier and angrier and ultimately I too called out several times.
Cr Rose Wanchap then took off each of her sandals with thick hard, heavy heels, made eye contact with me and threw them with great force.
The second one hit the armrest between me and the equally old man sitting next to me who has a brain tumor.
What goes on at council is astonishing.
When a civil engineer explains in detail the nature of sand movements at Belongil, and mentions the request by the state government to do nothing until the Coastal Zone Management Plan is produced, one councillor dismisses him with, ‘I’m tired of all of this. It’s been going on for years, just let’s vote’.
Another claims it’s all going to be paid for by the Belongil residents, when in fact they have offered $300,000 out of the projected initial costs of $1.2 million.
In 1988 council determined that planned retreat was their policy at Belongil Spit. The state government supported this.
All land and houses sold or built at Belongil since 1988 included in terms of the purchase that the land was subject to coastal erosion and that they would have to bear the future costs of any decision buy or build.
I believe compensation is required to those residents that built before 1988 (about seven to nine modest houses) who retain ownership and who have not used the homes as holiday lets.
Jim Beatson, Byron Bay