23.3 C
Byron Shire
February 24, 2024

A closer peek at Council’s Main Beach project

Latest News

Lighthouse Road

The section from the bus stop on Lighthouse Road to the divide of the road to Byron Bay, is...

Other News

Last chance for Julian Assange?

This week the Australian journalist Julian Assange will find out whether he will be extradited from the United Kingdom to the USA, where he faces 175 years in solitary confinement for his role in revealing the truth about war crimes and the inner workings of empire, or conducting 'espionage', as America calls it.

Plan for looming battery crisis

Industry-led voluntary schemes will fail to address the environmental risks arising from battery disposal, according to the Total Environment Centre, as they release a plan for urgent regulation to establish an effective, mandatory product stewardship scheme to safely collect and recycle all battery types in Australia.

NPWS wants to remove beach nudity option

For 26 years, Tyagarah Beach has been an oasis for the region’s naturist community – a space where bodies of all shapes and sizes could roam free without threat of fines or reprimands.

Housing parasites

Trying to fix the housing crisis in the Byron Shire by building more houses is like trying to put...

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Growing Mould Together

I love the smell of mould in the morning. Actually I don’t. It drives me nuts. Some days I’m obsessed that it’s all I can smell. It’s the smell of living in the Northern Rivers. The humidity and rain of our summer has created the perfect conditions for mould. Mould on shoes. Mould in my bread bin. Mould in the dark of my cupboards. Mould in the cracks in my bathroom. Mould behind the sink. Mould in me

Interview with Hayley Grace

Hayley Grace’s response to post-flood PTSD, was to look at life and healing in a different way, then come through the other side writing about it – her new single ‘Mary Jane’ is the result. Hayley and The Bay Collective, a raucous seven-piece big band – featuring a full horn section, guitar, bass, keys and percussion – will launch the song this week and play some shows to get it out there. Seven spoke to Hayley on the weekend to get her POV on The Bay Collective and recovery.

Despite seven foreshore designs presented to the community by consultants Bluecoast and Council staff, the report underpinning the designs give Council’s Coastal Management Program and Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan scant mention.
Image from Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan, page 104

Hans Lovejoy

While Main and Clarkes Beach continue to erode, Council are exploring ways to protect the headland at Jonson Street.

Unsuprisingly, those groynes are also eroding with the passage of time.

Submission deadline extended

Seven proposals for protection works are now before the public, with submissions being extended from December 9 to December 23, while the survey and comments will be accepted until the end of January 2021. 

Council staff say that the ‘Coastal protection structure [groyne] between the First Sun Holiday Park and the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club, was designed in the 1960s to protect the town centre from the threat of coastal erosion. The structure is degraded and needs improvement’.

The designs on exhibition would produce very different outcomes and trade-offs, from diminished or enhanced beaches.

As such, they would impact on surfing conditions and visitor and local amenity.

So – what are the implications of tinkering with Byron’s shorelines?

The seven options are a combination of groyne removal and retention, a sloping rock seawall (berm rock revetment), an artificial headland with sand bypassing, and moving protective structures landward (retreat).

The more expensive options, according to the November 2020 report by consultant engineers Bluecoast, is an artificial headland (better for waves and surfing), while the cheapest is maintaining the current alignment.

The report says on page 31, ‘The groynes are perceived to have a positive influence on the surf amenity value of the area. Removing the groynes was raised as a key concern by the local surfing community following the completion of WorleyParsons (2014) recommended concept design’.

Best surfing option?

The report’s authors believe that option four provides ‘potentially enhanced surf amenity’ (page 38).

This option replaces the central groyne with an artificial rounded headland, and would offer, ‘more public space, protection, enhanced foreshore amenity’.

‘This option would be combined with a small-scale sand by-pass system built into the headland to increase sand movement from east to west’.

Offshore structures, artificial submerged reefs, and beach nourishment programs are also explored, albeit not in great detail, within the report. The report authors say, ‘Given the intent of providing terminal protection against beach erosion, seawalls or rock revetments are given primary consideration’.

Plans for the foreshorewithin the Masterplan (page 60) are for a ‘Foreshore Community & Cultural Precinct’, which indicates the removal of the car park.

Enhancing the beach

If enhancing the beach space is preferred, then option six suggests looking at the ‘bigger picture of offering maximum protection to Byron Bay town centre, while achieving the best result in terms of maximising beach space’.

This would require removing all groynes, ‘with full realignment of the structure landward and creates an uninterrupted shoreline and wider beach’.

The report reads, ‘The removal of the spur groynes would be expected to increase the supply of littoral sand to downdrift areas’.

Option seven ‘retains the existing structure and groynes repairing it to a contemporary standard. This approach is based on maintaining the status quo’.

Along with this project, Council is currently in the process of developing a Coastal Management Program (CMP).

There is little mention of how this large-scale infrastructure project, with its massive implication – aligns with this yet-to-be adopted Coastal Management Program.

Longtime Council watchers would recall that the plan has been ongoing for many years in different guises, and for various reasons, has failed to materialise.

Another consideration with this plan is a 2016 court settlement against Council’s insurers, which was brought by very wealthy Belongil beachfront landowners.

Those landowners claimed their land had diminished in value, owing to historical Jonson Street protection works.

As part of that court resolution, Council agreed to allow the property owners to ‘retain any existing protective [beach] works in their current form’ but, if they want to ‘maintain, upgrade or replace’ them, they will have to seek Council approval.

As Council was represented by its insurers in court, the case never went to full trial and was settled in confidence. As such, the claims by the very wealthy Belongil beachfront landowners were never tested in an open court.

There is no mention of the court case within these reports supplied by Council.

And under the previous Council (2012–2016), councillors agreed to a rockwall that very wealthy Belongil beachfront landowners would pay for.

At the time, The Echo reported, ‘Both the NSW office of environment and heritage (OEH) and Council have yet to explain how the five rock wall DAs, which cover both public and private lands, will not result in beach [sand] loss’.


How does the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan fit into all of this? 

The Bluecoast report briefly mentions the town’s Masterplan on page 3, 13, 25, 38, 44, 51 and 52.

The Masterplan is not mentioned in Council’s accompanying fact sheet for the foreshore project. 

Plans for the foreshore within the Masterplan (page 60) are for a ‘Foreshore Community & Cultural Precinct’, which indicates the removal of the car park.

On page 104 of the Masterplan, there is a detailed illustration of ‘Long Term Priorities 2022 – 2035’ (pictured above).

The Masterplan reads, ‘The long-term potential for Main Beach is to establish a natural extension to the foreshore park, hybrid coast protection works and pedestrian boardwalk towards the North Coast Railway, securing a seamless east to west foreshore experience’.

All info can be found at Your Say Byron Shire.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

4,000 failed

I attended the flood forum held at the Ballina RSL last Monday and was aghast to hear some of the facts presented. 4,000 people...

Knitting Nannas get behind Save Wallum campaign

With porcelain tea cups, lace-covered tables and plenty of knitting the Knitting Nannas Against Greed (KNAG) headed to the basecamp of the Save Wallum...

NPWS wants to remove beach nudity option

For 26 years, Tyagarah Beach has been an oasis for the region’s naturist community – a space where bodies of all shapes and sizes could roam free without threat of fines or reprimands.

‘Key workers’ removed from Ballina Council’s housing project as Mayor seeks full market rents

Essential workers were the losers at the recent Ballina Council meeting when councillors actively removed the category for ‘key workers’ from their development of rental housing on land it owns in Wollongbar.