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Byron Shire
April 10, 2021

Dunes at Clarkes Beach at risk of collapsing

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All-abilities beach access ramp at Clarkes Beach Byron Bay. Photo supplied.

The tides bring it in and they take it away again and beachgoers in the Byron Shire are being warned to stay away from the dunes at Clarkes Beach and New Brighton as the ocean has consumed much of the sand.

Byron Shire Council’s Director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, said the area at Clarkes Beach has seen significant coastal erosion and dunes could potentially collapse.

‘Safety is paramount,’ says Holloway. ‘People are urged to not walk or sit close to the erosion escarpment and not allow children (or anyone) to play or dig near the dunes.

‘Clarkes Beach is presently starved of sand due to the limited sand bypassing Cape Byron. Plus, we’ve had high tides and dangerous surf conditions.’

Dune fencing at New Brighton Beach. Photo supplied.

Staff have been monitoring the situation and removing debris from Council controlled areas over the weekend. Council has also been working closely with National Parks, the Office of Environment and Heritage and Reflections Caravan Park at Byron Bay.

Access tracks from the coastal reserve to Clarkes Beach have undergone severe erosion, collapsed and have been closed to the public until they can be repaired. Council will be undertaking works on the all-abilities beach access and asks beachgoers to not use it until it is fixed and to please not take down the signage or tape.

The foreshore dune at New Brighton has also suffered some erosion that has created an escarpment around 1m in front of the existing dune protection fencing and if it continues, dune fencing may be affected. Council staff are also monitoring these areas.


·         Be aware of the risk that unstable dunes present

·         Avoid walking or lying/sunbathing directly under the escarpment

·         Do not allow children to play directly under or around the dune escarpment

·         Stay off the dunes to allow the dune vegetation to re-establish

·         Only use formal access paths to access the beach and if they are closed do not ignore the signs and tape.

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  1. Green and Clean Dunecare were planting up these dunes in 1999, and it was almost the way it is now, bare sand slopes. Erosion at the Van Park is much worse now than back then. There was no risk to the BBQ shelter at the park, but its being removed this time! All those trees on the beach near the cafe have grown over the past 20 years. Volunteers will be planting again in coming months, and we will be happy to have new volunteers, 3rd Sunday morning each month, 9am at the Cafe park!

  2. Go Dune Care people! Go!! Thanks for all your efforts all these years. Hope some of the extinction rebellion people and all the keen outdoors people, all those under 50s, (plus all those brush turkeys too: where are they going to perch?) will join you in the next cycle of dune care planting and learn from you.

    • Mary, While tree planting is paramount in Climate Change and species extinction reversal, Extinction Rebellion also investigates the chain of corruption, power and greed that fuels bad development , which is killing our planet.

  3. Yes Veda times are certainly changing.
    Was interested to read recently that the holiest temple at Puri….built by the sea in our middle ages is now 3 Km inland from the sea. So in that case the sea has receded….there was no explanation for this. At least on Wikipedia.
    But hey, how can it help that we continue to belch CO2 into our fragile stratosphere or that we continue to overpopulate everywhere or that we live as though our environment exists only to be exploited? And we know that all the sand on all our beaches took millions of years to create and with climate change will disappear off the edge of the continental shelf…we are speeding up that natural process.
    And that our govts ignore the pleas of scientists and are in the employ of Big Business?
    Yes we can do something on a personal level always but how do we change the minds of the people who control us? How do we arrest Climate Change then?

  4. Hi,

    On a previous occasion I have written to your publication and informed the Byron Shire of our system.
    Byron Shire has ignored this product for over 10 years despite the system having been found suitable to combat beach erosion here including Belongil beach.
    The system was tested by a division of the NSW Govt. and the found that this system would easily handle a ” Once in a hundred year event” That by far exceeds the capability of rock or sand bag walls.
    Our system is eco and user friendly and has an added advantage of being aesthetically more pleasing.
    Please see http://www.australiancoastalwalls.com.au

  5. About time the state government showed some initiative and closed the caravan park and allowed the littoral rainforest to recover and allow people to enjoy and learn about it.


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