For several months Echonetdaily has been fielding calls from Suffolk Park residents whose properties adjoin Tallow Creek, complaining the high water levels, flooding and lack of beach access.
Now Byron Shire Council is looking to do something about it. But no, they’re not going to open the creek mouth… yet. First they have to get permission from the state government – and so they’re calling on locals to have their say in a survey, now online.
Water levels in Tallow Creek have been high for more than eight weeks because of rain in May-June this year.
The community concern about flooding has prompted Byron Shire Council to review the existing management strategy for the waterway.
Council’s coastal and biodiversity officer, Chloe Dowsett, said Tallow Creek is an ‘Intermittently Closed or Open Lake or Lagoon, or ICOLL, which, while it periodically opens and closes to the ocean naturally, is closed most of the time’.
‘As water builds up in the creek after heavy rain flooding of backyards and walking paths occurs, however, in previous years the length of flooding until the mouth naturally breaches over the beach berm (sand bar) is generally only a couple of weeks’, Ms Dowsett said.
‘Since 2004 Council has only had to open the creek once, so the situation at the moment is very unusual and it has prompted Council to look at the Environmental Management Plan and Opening Strategy.
‘For example, the strategy does not identify a trigger for how long private property may be flooded for and this may be contemplated in close consultation with NSW Government agencies and the community,’ Ms Dowsett said.
‘Council has a licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and DPI Fisheries to open the mouth of the creek but only when water levels reach a certain height (2.2m or above) or if the water quality poses a concern to human health.
‘Despite extensive testing and monitoring neither of these things have occurred yet,’ she said.
Council is asking all residents in the Suffolk Park area, and people who walk or ride in the Tallow Creek area to do an online survey.
The survey can be found at www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/admin/projects/tallow-creek-opening-strategy. It closes on September 14.