Art Burroughes – Mullumbimby
What is the proper response for a community contemplating an impending slow-motion natural disaster? Not tearing itself apart to be sure. The Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) is potentially the biggest, most crucial investment decision in the history of Byron Shire. Is it the right decision, given all vectors involved including increasing evidence our children will see a two-metre sea level rise? Is our decision-making process effective?
- Not reflecting expert environmental advice – does not consider broader environmental impacts. Proposal likely to accelerate coastal erosion – impact not stated.
- Open ended financial risk – Potentially escalating and unsustainable cost of maintaining the planned rock wall. Will we get locked into a cycle of increasingly Gold Coast style development to generate cash flow for coastal protection?
- Not funded – Most future work appears uncosted and unfunded.
- Short-term thinking – the large cost incurred over the planning term of 15 years may well be wasted as plan proves unsustainable. Longer term plan needed.
- Distorted drivers of policy – Is pressure from influential property owners skewing the debate? Is it fair for taxpayers to compensate investors who bought property knowingly under threat at discounted prices?
- Indemnity – Are we effectively about to indemnify a handful of reckless investors in perpetuity from the inevitable ravages of climate change? No signed agreement by the landowners to contribute to the massive costs involved – (To accept a verbal agreement is unwise).
- Consultation process – I tried to read the CZMP – It’s Greek to me. Communication process is unworkable and time frame inadequate. A free kick to ideologues and vested interests.
- What we need now -More time. Preparation of a digestible summary of the issues involved A proper broad-based consensus decision-making process of community forums designed to engage not exclude.