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February 24, 2024

Facts and myths of rock wall at Belongil

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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.


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  1. The word “freedom” is subjective in that it is what you think it is. It is not an absolute. It is not objective.
    One man’s freedom is another man’s jail.
    We also have the word “government” and to have government we have a governor and it is his job to repress the people, so they have less freedom so there is control. When a people are controlled do they have freedom? That is the question as some people will say “yes” and others will say “no” as freedom is different to different people. To some of us there is no freedom at all as the only person who is free is the governor who governs us, the prime minister. At the top he has everyone else under control by ASIO, by satellite, by federal police and by state police, and then also by convention. Your neighbour will keep watch on you and whisper, maybe to higher authority.
    Freedom to some is to wander, romp and cartwheel. Freedom to others is to build rock walls on beaches and to charge all the other people to put that rock there to hold back the ocean.
    We are not free. What everyone has learned in the school system and via media is what the prime minister has wanted us to learn. It is called the curriculum. So you all have not learned at all when you have learned what others have wanted you to learn. You have been taught by the system, and having been taught by the system you are controlled by the system. The system controls everything.
    The next time you go romping along the beach remember that you have not been fined yet for doing so just yet, but the government needs the money and a fine maybe coming your way for romping on the sand as the only thing that is free is the government. They want your money. How is your big brother?

  2. I am not a resident of Byron Bay but I have often visited usually for consecutive period of two weeks. One of my great enjoyments of visiting Byron Bay is my walks (which I do almost daily when I visit) from Main Beach to Tyagarah. Swimming and relaxing on the beach for a while then walking back. Byron Bay would loose a lot of its appeal for me if I were not able to have this walk.

  3. My common sense says the wall is wrong and will be a sinkhole for cash.
    To hold back the tide without the mythical powers of the mythical man who walked on water, is lunacy and will never be more than a stop gap measure.
    The people who chose to live in the dunes of a beach with sometimes huge waves, must have wanted to live ‘on the edge’.
    To expect sea walls to hold bag the seas without constant ‘shoring up’ (sand buckets of cash), is absolute lunacy.
    Tell them they’re DREAMIN’!


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