Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay
It is frightening that Rose Wanchap (advertisement, Echo, August 24) falsely claims that over the past 20–30 years at Belongil ‘no beach lost in all of that time’. This is misleading advertising and displays a profound ignorance of the facts by one of those principally responsible for getting rid of planned retreat.
The facts are that sea levels have risen by 20cm in the past century and are likely to rise by around another metre by the end of this century. For every metre rise in sea level the coast retreats by 50–150m as the seabed seeks to retain its equilibrium slope.
Belongil’s problems are more severe because the wave-driven northward-flowing coastal current removes more sand from the bay than enters it.
Since 1978 every study has identified that Belongil beach is eroding and that this sand deficit is the primary cause. For example, based on mapping of the eroding coast from aerial photographs, Patterson Britton (2006) identify that the average historical sand loss from Memorial Pool to Belongil Creek has been 63,000m3 to 113,000m3 per annum.
In the past century Belongil has lost 100m of its foreshore in front of the rock and rubble walls. The walls have now stopped the retreat of the beach, but with nowhere left to go the beach is disappearing.
All recent studies have also found that since 1999 the Belongil walls are increasing erosion to their west, though the beach there can still retreat, at least until it runs into the estuary.
Byron Shire Coastline Hazards Assessment Update 2013 was the latest Council report to reconfirm ongoing erosion of the beach in front of the Belongil walls and increasing erosion of dunes and beaches to their west (pages 72, 74, 76 and 82).
Given that Wanchap was on Council when it received this report, it is frightening that she has been making decisions on our future while not understanding the evidence in front of her. I ask The Echo to stop running Wanchap’s misleading advertisements.