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Byron Shire
July 1, 2022

Anhudi Wentworth’s legacy at Belongil

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Did you know it’s been six months since councillors were elected? They have another two years to go, and while a usual term is a gruelling four years, this time, it’s shorter, owing to a disrupting bat virus.

Examining the last two decades of development at the Belongil.

Throughout the debate on the rock wall at Belongil imperative aspects of the debate have been dismissed and trashed.

Namely, those folks who chose to develop on the sensitive dune at the Belongil were issued with a ‘buyer beware’ certificate. Indeed, these development proposals so upset deceased Councilllor Wentworth that she personally contacted those involved and informed them ‘that they were very foolish people, that the risks of the houses falling into the sea was very real and that they could cost the council (and no doubt ratepayers) lots of money’.

I recently met former residents who built their houses according to retreat specifications. They had just come to town and were perplexed by such directness. Anhudi did have fire in her belly and it was needed. Her predictions have come true.

What is lost in this debate are the issues of personal responsibility, duty of care, legal warnings, environmental damage and above all transparency and accountability. How can such issues been steamrollered out of civil consciousness by a council posing as a representative democracy?

Furthermore, aerial photos reveal that houses were developed over the coastal ridge line. Have they received council approval?

Has council researched satellite images over the last two decades focussing East Coast erosion? The whole is always greater than the parts.

We do need to go back historically on this debate before we move forward with further development.

Ignoring such legal imperatives destroys due process and sets a future precedent for the further corporatisation of Byron.

The Belongil and the Belongil Estuary have intrinsic value as valuable ecosystems. The question remains: will wilful ignorance of the laws of nature, civil society and democratic representation be further perverted by vested interests?

If the power/money of corporates continues to pervert the above then it is hoped that we as citizens overcome middle-class manners and acknowledge the need for the expression of the fire in our bellies. We owe it to all future life forms and especially Anhudi. (Researchers: I am aware of the fact that Anhudi donated all paperwork to the Byron Library).

Jo Faith, Newtown

 


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