An excavator at work on Belongil Beach last Friday.
An excavator at work on Belongil Beach last Friday.

Council agrees to urgent works

The threat of damaging seas whipped up by Cyclone Ului saw Belongil Beach property owners carry out urgent dune protection works last Friday.

But as it turned out, there was little impact over the weekend on the Byron Shire coastline.

Carried out by an earthmoving contractor, the sand nourishment work was done with the agreement of Byron Council after property owners had started Land and Environment Court proceedings against the council the previous day.

The council’s general manager, Graeme Faulkner, said the land owners were seeking orders that the council undertake additional works at Don and Border Streets in anticipation of possible increased sea swell due to the cyclone.

Mr Faulkner said the landowners had requested in the Land and Environment Court that the council be ordered to undertake work to the existing geobag walls.

“The landowners were advised that unfortunately council did not have available resources or funds, but that council did not object to the landowners doing sand nourishment works at their own cost,” he said.

Mr Faulkner said an approval had been given to the landowners for the sand nourishment works provided they were in accordance with the 2001 development application consent.

He said the council had issued a Roads Act approval last Thursday afternoon to allow the work to start immediately.

The council’s approval allowed for the landowners to undertake sand nourishment to the area and includes the following requirements:

* The sand was the same quality as specified by the council
* Reasonable care was to be taken to ensure the safety of the public in general, including road users and pedestrians
* All works were to be carried out from behind the existing geobag wall
* Traffic control management was to be in place during the works.

Mr Faulkner said the agreement filed with the court last Thursday afternoon was on the same conditions as the Roads Act approval, however, the landowners reserved their rights to recover the costs of the sand nourishment works against the council.

He said the Don and Border Street sites were surveyed in February and were found to be at or above the height required by the development consent.

The landowners’ court application against the council has been held over for callover on April 1.

Byron Preservation Association president Geoff Tauber said residents were again forced to go to court ‘to achieve what should ordinarily be a commonsense solution carried out as part of the normal responsibilities of local government’.

He said it highlighted the need for the State Government to introduce legislation that empowered the State to over-ride ‘recalcitrant, obstructive and politically-motivated council actions’.

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