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Byron Shire
February 26, 2024

Properties at Belongil beachfront should be removed

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And so the rock wall fiasco at Belongil beach, that has been on one Byron shire councillor’s agenda since day one, finally goes on public display for a mere three weeks.

Originally 100 metres at Manfred Street, suddenly it’s 1.6km with a walkway on top.

Why? To avoid litigation from a handful of wealthy dune dwellers.

How? With the assistance of four willfully-ignorant conservative councillors.

Result if built – loss of beach, tourism dollar, endangered species of birds nesting at the mouth of the Belongil estuary and further possible litigation from Elements resort for loss of their own foreshore and amenity.

Argued to be the cheapest way to save half a dozen properties camped on the dunes themselves, it will more likely be the costliest ‘solution’ to appease council’s most vocal litigant.

Think the massive cost of replenishing sand by pumping from Tallow beach. In 1864 the sea penetrated from Tallow beach as far as Belongil creek!

Could that happen again once sands are dug from there and those dunes disturbed and eroded?

Then there are ongoing maintenance costs for the wall itself.

And if punitive levies aren’t imposed on Belongil residents and the entire electorate to cover the cost of sand replenishment, then tourism businesses will suffer greatly from the loss of our greatest asset, that wonderful sweeping beach that is the Bay.

As far as I am concerned, the cheapest option in the long run, has to be the removal of those properties that prevent the dunes from doing their job.

With those gone, I am confident the dunes will do what they have always done for decades to come, protect us all.

And if we look at precedents set internationally, no one is paying to save properties falling into the sea in the UK and on the Californian coast. Buyers beware!

So maybe we should just call their bluff and not scurry to ruin the town by saving the few.

By saving those properties hugging our dunes and preventing the dunes from doing their job, we are setting a precedent ourselves to rock the entire east coast of Australia. Think about that!

Jan Hackett, Sunrise

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  1. Have a look at some old photos of Byron Bay. The dunes feeding the beach were actually located where fletcher street and Lawson street are – before mining and development. So following your logic, we should remove the car park, swimming pool, beach hotel, surf club and all the shops on Lawson street and then let the dunes reform in their rightful home. This was the location of the dunes when the land at Belongil was sold as the first land release in Byron in the late 1800s because of it’s height. There are not half a dozen houses at Belongil, there are dozens of blocks of land, homes and businesses, all of Childe st and access to the beach at Manfred st that would be lost. And what about the tourist dollars that Belongil brings in. There is low cost accommodation here right through to rental properties that attract international celebrities to Byron bay and raise our profile and bring diversity to the area. I am sure there were once birds and animals of all types living on your property too – but thankfully this is not North Korea – so the government can’t simply take property away from people because a few people in the community would like them to. People love Belongil as it is. They could choose Tyagarah if they wanted miles and miles of wide and pristine beach – but many many people actually prefer the vibrancy of Belongil. The homes, people, businesses and accommodation make it what it is. People congregate behind or on the existing rocks. Byron is a great place because of its diversity. Belongil is part of that. Which is why the community once banded together to protect it, building walls from tree stumps and then the Byron Erosion Trust wall in 1976. The sand comes and goes. So what is the problem? This started as the council trying to limit liability, but certain green councillors have shifted the argument into something quite destructive and sinister.

  2. David,

    Build a sea wall to protect an enclave of wealth and thereby protect Byron Bay’s social diversity?

    If you want social diversity you must be against paid parking, which hollowed out the town overnight.

    Oops, paid parking revenue is paying for the sea wall.


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