Retreat? plan vote

In a close vote, Byron Council on Tuesday selected the 'retreat' option to deal with coastal erosion at Byron Bay and New Brighton.

The option was adopted on the casting vote of mayor, Cr Jan Barham and after an amendment to defer the selection of an option was defeated.

In adopting the longawaited Coastline Management Plan, the council also voted to have staff undertake an audit of all properties involved in the immediate and 50 year coastal erosion zones.

It also called for a report based on an ownership and development audit and the financial implications of the planned retreat option.

A number of speakers addressed the council before debate on the issue, including Sue Campbell from the Belongil Progress Association.

The council voted to write to the Director General of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR) requesting the establishment of a Byron Shire Coastal Erosion Working Group, to work in part- nership with the council to assist in implementing a long term management strategy for areas within the shire subject to systemic coastline hazard threat.

Another option put before councillors for protecting properties at Belongil Beach was a sand nourishment project that would cost $20 million and then $240,000 a year over 50 years to maintain.

A similar project at New Brighton would initially cost $6.2 million, plus $50,000 a year over 50 years.

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