Mary Gardner, Byron Bay
In Byron Bay, freedom is to wander, romp and cartwheel along the beach. Alone or part of a crowd, in every weather, rainbows overhead, dolphins and whales alongside. Why should we lose that privilege and march single file on a stone path built halfway up the face of a kilometre of rock walls leading out to the Belongil? Even weirder, why should we pay? Who says we should accept this Coastal Zone Management Plan to thoroughly armour the Belongil spit with rock walls?
Another freedom we have here is to learn, to think, to discern myth from fact. Last week, the full page ad of Byron Preservation Association announced ‘myth 1-rock wall means no beach’. They quote Dean Patterson who wrote ‘the impact of seawalls constructed along Belongil Spit has been relatively modest and local to date’.
Really? In fact, his next sentence is: ‘However, should the natural net loss of sand from the Byron Embayment continue into the future, the walls will increasingly exacerbate the erosion of the western end of Belongil Spit over time’.
Patterson’s work was a test run of an experimental model. The peer review commissioned by council concludes: ‘Due to the limited scope of the Patterson (2010) study, additional studies are needed before using it as the basis of decision making’.
Spot all the other myths in the ad (hint: some are called facts). Ponder why both BPA and Byron Council get myths and facts mixed up. Me, I am off to wander the beach.