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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Byron’s coastal erosion sparks urgent meeting

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Severe coastal erosion at Clarkes Beach and Main Beach has prompted Byron Council to call an urgent meeting with Crown Lands and other stakeholders to discuss ways of addressing the issue.

Clarkes Beach has been particularly affected by the erosion over the past three months, with tonnes of sand stripped away exposing a rock shelf beneath.

Clarke’s Beach at high tide. Photo Jeff Dawson

The beach is also littered with uprooted pandanus trees, and the eroded dune line is now within metres of the Beach restaurant and cafe.

‘I walked along Main Beach on Sunday morning and was devastated at what had occurred just in the space of the previous seven days,’ Greens councillor Sarah Ndiaye said.

‘To see one of the most beautiful beaches in the world gouged by the sea like that was shocking.

‘On a big swell at high tide waves could potentially break over the embankment.’

Under an urgency motion successfully moved by Cr Ndiaye, Council staff will convene a meeting of all land managers with responsibility for the two beaches.

This will include Crown Lands, who have primary responsibility for managing the site. 

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the impact of various coastal processes on the beach, and to explore potential options for management.

The outcome will be reported to the next available Council meeting.

One matter likely to be discussed at the meeting is the Lighthouse Road stormwater diversion project – a Council-lead measure aimed at reducing the impact of stormwater runoff on the fragile coastal fringe.

Stormwater project 

Councillors are scheduled to receive a briefing on this project at December’s Strategic Planning Workshop.

Another issue that is likely to come up at the upcoming meeting about Clarkes Beach is the contribution of surface runoff and hard drainage systems to beach erosion.

Council staff said, in July, that they were in discussions with Crown Lands about what could be done to address the erosion issue.

‘I know that staff have been working on a number of things to help the situation,’ Cr Ndiaye said.

‘Unfortunately, we’re not the landholders in that area. But I do think the drains need addressing. This is happening at such a rapid rate, we need to be doing whatever we can. 

‘I don’t think we can leave this to the last minute.’

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  1. The “last minute” has been and gone.
    Hello……is there anybody out there ? Do you realise the globe is warming ? The ice is melting and the oceans are absorbing the greatest percentage Global Warming and not only does the melting ice caps cause the sea level to rise, but also the warmer water expands greatly and it is now irreversible Byron Bay will slip under the waves . While this is terribly sad, there will be much worse effects world-wide.
    On the bright side Queensland will have a beaut new coal-mine and here in Gladys’s land the gas industry will be bubbling along nicely in Narrabri. Loosely I suppose it could be described as lose , lose scenario.
    Even though, ‘I know that staff have been working on a number of things to help the situation,’ I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
    Cheers, G”)

  2. I have very fond memories of visiting Byron and walking along the magnificient expanse of sandy beach from Main Beach to Clarkes Beach around to The Pass. To my shock and horror I saw a report on TV yesterday, the pictures of Clarkes – oh the horror ? The beach is gone and no sand left for the Climate Deniers to bury their heads in.

  3. Yes Ken. That “last time minute’s been a long time gone.” What more needs
    doing to wake up ‘the quiet ones’ or is it that they’ve been asleep – bear
    hibernating, through & throughout each 4 seasons in the years of ‘the rabbit;
    Abbot, to the now?” For the life of me I can no longer believe our people are
    as stupid & uncaring as they’ve become. I guess it’s monkey-see & do. Rip
    off friends & country… our ‘managers’ ie; Politicians, do it & get away with

  4. Wow, ABOUT TIME, this should have been done over a year ago when it was obvious one of most valuable assets was disappearing , i can’t believe it has taken this long for council and National Parks to do something about it.


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