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Byron Shire
March 5, 2024

Will rock wall herald redevelopment of Belongil?

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Roy Giles, Suffolk Park

The leader of pro-rock wall councillors, Sol Ibraham, has said ‘there are around a dozen property owners on the Belongil spit whose properties are not covered by the 1988 change when planned retreat became [council] policy’. Other observers are saying only two houses haven’t changed hands since the 1988 ruling made it clear. If you bought property there it was your problem. Not the councils, and not the community’s.

It is essential, ratepayers know exactly how many houses, by address, have not changed hands since 1988 or undertaken unapproved works because that advises us on the Cost Benefit Analysis and the decisions that are being made. And Sol & others should know and provide the facts. How? His close friend on council, Cr Rose Wanchap, a some-time real estate agent, has access to the real estate agents’ database. A database which provides the date of purchase, the price paid, the seller and the buyer for every property in New South Wales.

Sol, give us the facts, not the spin. How many? And why are Council staff not giving rate payers accurate numbers of house owners at Belongil that pre-date the 1988 decision?

In March of last year, 2015, one property in Border Street at Belongil sold for $10 million. There’s been some very serious money changing hands over properties at Belongil since the 2012 election, when Cr Rose defected from the Greens, and gave control of Council to Sol’s group. Is this because they think with a rock wall they can redevelop? Speculation.

Is something going on? Ratepayers want to know.




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  1. Hi Roy. How many houses have changed hands is irrelevant. When I purchased my property at Belongil my 149 certificate covered an external addition only. There are no requirements on the house itself. There are development controls limiting further development, but that is all. The house was built in the early 80’s behind an approved rock wall that was built in 1976 in collaboration with the council. This was was to support among other things – the Esplanade (the road in which my property was originally accessed from). The misinformation being spread that owners who purchased since were informed that they would need to relocate their houses if the erosion got closer, is simply not true. And how can the erosion get closer if there is a wall? Thats like saying the beach hotel is in danger. It only is the the carpark is removed, which is couldn’t be. The horse bolted on this long before my time. There is fundamental aspect of property law (that I believe dates back hundreds of years) that says support for a property cannot be removed. So if anyone tried to remove existing rock walls, wether they were approved (as in my case) or not – it would be in breach of some very basic property laws. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the property rights of Belongil owners are not really any different to yours, UNLESS they own a house that was built in more recent times, and unless that house is not behind an existing rock wall. And the number of those houses is about zero. I am not sure why people are so keen to try and destroy Belongil. The whole town has evolved in strange ways, as has most coastal parts of Australia. The only way to change things is to get in a time machine and go back to 1883, and stop the sub division of Belongil. Or perhaps go to the 60’s and stop the building of the carpark and swimming pool, or stop the sand mining. And while you are at it, please stop the whole history of whaling and slaughtering animals right on the dune at Belongil. What is done is done. Being gridlocked in limbo is no good for anyone. The 3 opposing councillors should get more up to speed on the history and issues and try to work to fix the sand problem that effects the whole bay (not just Belongil) instead of trying to stymie plans to improve the situation – in an appeal to play populist politics to those who don’t fully understand the issues. Planned retreat can’t work in an urban area. And if it was brought in, it would need to apply equally on the foreshore which would then require the retreat of the whole town.


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