Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay
I have been contributing to the discussion over the issue of Byron beach erosion to encourage consideration of the long-term impacts of rising sea-levels owing to global heating, though for my efforts I have been attacked by Oliver Dunne, Matt Hartley, Jim Mangelson and others.
After years of research and observation I think I have a good knowledge of the studies, reports, and history of this issue, as well as the coastal processes involved.
I represented BEACON on Council’s Coastline Management Committee from 2002–07 and Byron Residents’ Group on the Coastal Zone Management Byron Bay Embayment Plan Project Reference Group in 2015–16.
I am fully aware that there are numerous short-term processes affecting the volume and location of sand on our beaches at any point in time as sand comes and goes, though the overall trend is that over the past 70 years there has been an average sand loss of some 50,000m3 per annum from the Byron embayment.
Oliver Dunne’s claims that I am advocating that Byron Bay residents pack their bags and move to Casino, or trying to stop toddlers being pushed in prams to the lighthouse, or stopping surfing are all ludicrous hyperbole.
Byron Council clearly identified those zones vulnerable to coastal erosion over the next 100 years back in 1986 when they adopted planned retreat, and required new buildings in those zones to be demountable so they can be moved back from the coast as it erodes.
I don’t see what the problem is with moving holiday cabins in Reflections Holiday Park, or the Byron Bay Beach Cafe, back from the brink to leave room for the beach.
When I moved to Byron Bay I intentionally bought a property outside the coastal erosion zones, and just considering coastal recession my house will be okay for the next 100 years, as will the mothers pushing prams up to the lighthouse, and surfers (provided engineers don’t mess with their breaks).
It is those people who bought in the mapped coastal erosion zones who may have problems with coastal recession. Though anything they built since then had to be capable of being moved out of harm’s way.
When it comes to a choice between building a rock wall to protect movable buildings or retaining a public beach by allowing it to move inland, my preference is for the beach.
While Jim Mangelson apparently agrees with Dr Derrick’s claims that climate change and sea-level rise are a hoax, sadly, they aren’t.
Like it or not, sea-levels are rising in response to global heating and this is already contributing to Byron’s erosion problems and will greatly exacerbate them into the future, which will become most apparent when we get our next period of cyclonic erosion.
Byron needs a plan to adapt to the climate changes already locked in, while our State and Federal governments need to take urgent action to curb and sequester our carbon emissions to limit the magnitude of future sea-level rises.