Councillors have voted unanimously, says Cr Sarah Ndiaye, to urgently explore ‘implementing a temporary extension of [Council’s] contract with Surf Lifesaving Australia (SLSA) to include Tyagarah Beach in their patrol this summer.’
The Echo’s Council reporter left just before the vote was taken at Thursday’s meeting (December 13), but staff have confirmed the motion as supplied by Cr Ndiaye is correct.
Cr Ndiaye told Echonetdaily that if lifesavers patrolled the beach, ‘It will help support visitors to feel safe, deter poor behaviour and encourage better water safety on what is quite a dangerous stretch of open beach.’
Meanwhile, Council will continue to work towards instillation of cameras and explore the legalities around improving safety.
The motion as supplied by Cr Ndiaye says $10,000 will be ‘immediately allocated’ towards Tyagarah Reserve CCTV cameras and related signage from unrestricted reserve funds.
Staff’s report in the agenda advised councillors that Council was already $10,000 short in its budget deficit, owing to an drought relief urgency motion at the October 18 meeting.
But Cr Alan Hunter argued at the meeting that Council’s funds were above its requirement to have ‘at least $1m in cash reserves’, and as such, he urged councillors to spend the money on cameras.
Councillors agreed that $15,000 will also be taken from the unrestricted reserve fund for the surf patrol.
While questions were raised at the meeting whether CCTV cameras would be immediately vandalised after installation, it emerged that Council had already committed to spending the money on the cameras and that discussions were yet to be held with stakeholders such as the NPWS and Police.
The motion as passed reads as follows:
1. That the $10,000 funding required for the Tyagarah Reserve cameras and related signage be immediately allocated from Council’s unrestricted reserve funds.
2. That as an interim measure, Council urgently explores implementing a temporary extension of our contract with Surf Lifesaving Australia (SLSA) to include Tyagarah Beach in their patrol this Summer.
3. That Council approaches NPWS to see if they would like to contribute to this public safety issue in line with their current contribution for SLSA services.
4. That Council allocates up to $15,000 from the same fund to implement this temporary arrangement.
5. That prior to installing Tyagarah Reserve cameras and related signage from Council’s unrestricted reserve funds the following actions are to be undertaken:
a. Council staff to attend a meeting of the Byron Coast Area Joint Management Committee and Police as requested on 18 February 2019 to discuss the issues raised in a letter sent to council on 4 December from National Parks and Wildlife Service regarding the placement of cameras on the Tyagarah Nature Reserve.
b. A plan is developed to clearly identify the location of cameras and signage, including the entrance to Tyagarah Nature Reserve.
c. A budget is prepared to outline the cost of camera installation, ongoing monitoring and estimated repairs to cameras on an annual basis. A funding source be identified to adequately cover these expenses.
d. Council request formal feedback from NSW Police regarding an assessment of the effectiveness, or otherwise, of cameras located at this site as a crime prevention measure.
e. Council request formal feedback from NSW Police regarding the resource requirements needed to adequately police illegal activities at this location.
f. Following the meeting to be held on 18 February Council request clarification from the Department of Industry (Crown Lands Division) as to whether their consent to locate clothes optional declaration signs on Tyagarah Beach is still supported.
6. That Council establish a interim Safe Beaches Committee consisting of five councillors, namely Crs Martin, Coorey, Ndiaye, Cameron and Hunter and two staff members to a) Elect 1 councillor as chair and b) Consider the attached draft constitution and recommend a final version for adoption by Council.
The motion was put to the vote and declared carried.