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Byron Shire
September 20, 2021

Wall will erode Belongil Creek estuary

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Regarding your article Seawall schemozzle without legal clarity, and the various responses on your website.

The only thing that will keep a wall on Belongil Beach is money…. truckloads of it over many years until the sea gets the last word.

And this CZMP gets the property owners to throw in for construction and then leaves all those future years of truckloads of cash to come out of our rates and whatever public handouts we can beg for. Pity we lost a million dollar contribution from OEH because the CZMP is inadequate in addressing any future planning or impacts on public lands to the north.

Parts of the seawall do go back 40 years yes. Many of those original parts are now strewn about the lower tidal zone…. but I saw most of the north end of the wall being constructed in the late 1990s and 2000s. so to say it’s been there 40 years is not really true, is it? This expansion had its impact. The 2009 event chewed a good 30m+ at the end of the (new) wall. The sandbags protecting this significant erosion scarp now head back towards the creek. The land being eaten away is part Cumbebin Nature Reserve, part Crown and includes the shorebird site at the Belongil entrance. Loss of this land, and of course the beach in front of the wall at high tide, is in no way an ‘enhancement for all’ when the natural dunes of Belongil Spit are all that protects the Belongil (and town) from deeper flooding in major ocean events.

So to answer your question, continuing to support landowners maintaining and extending the wall at Belongil is just hastening the breakthrough at the end of the wall. Reflected energy from a continuous wall is transferred to the end junction of wall and dune. The existing broken wall has had this effect moderated at each break in the wall, but now it is hastened by the combined illegal rock dumping and interim works of 1998-present. The gaps in the wall that reduce cumulative transfer to the northern part of the spit are now disappearing. The effect of completing the wall is to maximise erosion impacts at the northern end, hastening breakthrough of the spit. Those coastal experts are pretty clear about that.

Why doesn’t the CZMP look at those impacts and what it means for the town? The plan as it stands is to build a wall and monitor what happens. No contingencies, no costing for the totally predictable loss of beach, nature reseve, shorebird habitat, creek entrance. People are not that stupid…..

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  1. Most insurance will not cover storm damage or tidal erosion. Subsequently the residents of Belongil don’t care how much the wall costs. Nor what damage it causes to the environment. All they want is for their high risk real estate investments and future capital gains are protected. This is understandable. But other people don’t want to pay for the wall or let the be beach destroyed. Especially as Belongil is not zoned for permanent dwellings.


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