All the fuss about rock walls at Belongil shows once again how focused our council is on Byron Bay. We residents of the northern end of the shire watch in disbelief as council prepares to pour our dwindling financial resources into bottomless rock holes in a vain attempt to protect a few properties at Belongil, while turning a blind eye to the perilous situation facing far more properties at New Brighton and South Golden Beach.
With only a few metres of sand dune protecting hundreds of properties in the north of our Shire, we owe it to northern residents, as much as to those in Belongil, to prepare for the next storm surge. And if rock walls are the only solution for Belongil, then lets have them at New Brighton and South Golden Beach.
If council has a duty of care to protect properties from being washed away in storm events, then that duty of care must apply to all properties in the Shire, not just those belonging to a few rich residents at Belongil.
I note that our very own northern councillor, Di Woods, is massively in favour of building rock walls, so why has she ignored her own backyard? It seems that Di Woods is happy to watch our more modest homes engulfed by rising sea waters while protecting the mansions of the rich at Belongil.
This is not a new issue. Back in June 2013 council resolved to write to Premier O’Farrell and the Australian prime minister, notifying them of the critical situation of the coast at New Brighton/South Golden Beach. That same council meeting also moved that funds be allocated in 2013/14 to resource the preparation of a CZMP for New Brighton and South Golden Beach.
Has this been acted upon? No. Do we have a CZMP for New Brighton and South Golden Beach? No. Which councilors voted against this motion? Well, surprise, surprise, Crs Woods, Hunter and Cubis. Now we can probably understand why Hunter and Cubis voted against the motion, but why did Woods not have the moral fibre to stand up for her northern constituents?
The only fair and equitable way to manage the rock wall scenario is to add up the cost of rock walls to protect all beach-front properties in the shire vulnerable to rising sea level and storm surges. Armed with that information we should make sure that all properties have equal protection. This means commencing rock wall construction simultaneously all along our coastline. To do this we need the funds, so lets start saving now, and when council has the cash at hand (a conservative estimate would be around $40 million, not including sand nourishment) lets get the trucks rolling
L Cronin, Billinudgel