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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Storms bring focus to future of our coastline

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It has been, in the words of one local, ‘great weather for ducks wearing helmets’.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the Shire has copped a spanking from Mother Nature over the past three days.

We’ve had torrential rain, gale-force winds, and king tides that have ripped into Byron Bay’s already battered beaches.

Locals have witnessed large chunks of the dunes at Clarke’s Beach being washed into the sea, along with entire trees and temporary man made structures.

Some in low lying hinterland areas have been flooded in and some roads heading into low-lying towns like Mullumbimby are close to being inundated.

The deluge is set to continue today (Wednesday) but is expected to ease later in the week.

Main Beach Shoreline Project

Meanwhile, in their submission to Council regarding the Main Beach Shoreline Project, Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club (BBSLSC) have outlined their concerns about the potential impacts of all proposed options, and say maintaining the existing groynes is their preferred outcome, ‘until an evidence-based alternative is identified’.

Main Beach in Byron copped an absolute flogging this week. Photo Jeff ‘Stormy Weather’ Dawson.

The Main Beach Shoreline Project aims to address the failing groynes at Jonson Street and, according to Council, ‘enhance the town’s coastal protection, while improving public safety and amenity so that everyone can enjoy Byron’s iconic Main Beach into the future.’ 

Byron Bay Surf Club president Paul Pattison provided their submissions to The Echo upon request, and he said, ‘With the weekend and today’s big swell and tides, it has shown how vulnerable the shoreline is’. 

‘Appropriate protection works for our much loved, used and internationally acclaimed beach need to be progressed as a matter of urgency. 

Modelling and specialist advice needs to be considered in relation to works along the shoreline from Cape Byron to Brunswick’.

The club is in favour of option seven that – on Your Say on the Byron Council website – that ‘retains the existing structure and groynes repairing it to a contemporary standard. This approach is based on maintaining the status quo’.

While public submissions will remain open until 23 December. ‘We’re closing the survey then so the data can be compiled but the concepts and information will remain online for people to view and they can email through written submissions over summer as well – until about the end of January,’ a council spokesperson told The Echo.

Of the seven options presented, all vary in cost and would create very different outcomes for the beach.  


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