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.
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.
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.’