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