Coast claims branded as 'rubbish'

The Byron Preservation Association has dismissed as ‘rubbish’ a claim by Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham that planned new State Government coastal legislation will impact on all ratepayers.

Association president Geoff Tauber said the council had known since 1996 that coastal property owners didn’t want, or expect, the council or the State to pay for any of the various protection works for which development applications were submitted – and rejected.

Mr Tauber said the proposed legislation did have the potential to require the council to protect those parts of the beach for which it had always been responsible, but which it had always chosen to neglect.

He said had the council chosen to maintain Belongil Beach’s public beaches rather than squander ratepayer funds on litigation, the coastal protection works now required would be unnecessary.

The proposed amendments related to the Local Government Act not to the Coastal Protection Act and would in fact extend the council’s exemptions from liability, he said.

The association was not in favour of extending the council’s exemptions from legal liabilities which otherwise continued to apply to all other citizens and corporate entities in the shire.

Mr Tauber said the major liability the council created with its Jonson Street protection works (groyne) had still not been addressed and continued to hold the potential to bankrupt the shire.

He said for many years the council had resisted all attempts at any meaningful consultation with land owners.

“We take it that the mayor is now flagging this approach to continue in relation to all details arising from the proposed new legislation,” he said.

“All Belongil properties have been impacted by the Jonson Street works and should be properly protected from that negligence.”

Mr Tauber said the planned legislation would give Byron Shire residents and the community the opportunity to defend their properties and the town.

“Mayor Jan Barham will go down as the most divisive and wasteful mayor in Byron’s history,” he said.

“Her politically motivated campaign to pursue a policy of planned retreat at the expense of the community has been called to account by the State Government who should be congratulated for taking on this rogue council”

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