State Government Belongil erosion works funding washes away
A DECISION by the Office of Environment and Heritage to withdraw funding for the proposed beach works at Belongil has put the future of the project in jeopardy.
Instead of going to the Byron Shire Council's October 30 meeting looking to take the project from the design phase to construction, the topic of alternative funding will now need to be considered, Council's director of infrastructure services Phil Holloway said.
"This [funding] could come from either property owners or from Council general funds and was yet to be decided," he said.
From last year the office had supported a funding arrangement seeing them match council's contribution on a dollar-for-dollar basis for a $300,000 component of the beach works, he said.
But the office said in a letter to council received on October 8, this funding had been withdrawn.
At issue is the size of the interim beach access works that will help to stabilise the Belongil headland, at risk from sea erosion.
The office said the scale of the works would have a significant impact on the beach areas of Belongil, and was the reason the funding had been pulled.
The council has written to the office to understand what exactly the "withdrawal of funding support," means for the project Mr Holloway said.
"What we are unclear about is whether it is the whole funding amount or part, as the funding contract has been in progress for over a year," he said.
Council has not received payment from the office for part of stage one of the project which was submitted on January 29, 2014, he said.
The loss of funding was a "concern" and could stop the interim works proceeding, Simon Richardson Byron Shire mayor said.
Considering the Coastal Zone Management Plan could be completed and ratified by State government by Easter next year, it made sense to hold-off on a project that was only supposed to be an interim solution.
The proposed interim break walls were always too big and the current situation should remain until the plan is finalised he said.