Exhibition of draft coastal plan delayed

Byron Council’s draft coastal zone management plan, which includes the controversial planned retreat policy, is not expected to go on public exhibition until next month.

Councillors were due to vote on a recommendation last Thursday to put the draft on exhibition, but decided it needed some tidying up and a clear executive summary prepared before that happened.

The council’s planning director, Ray Darney, said while the draft plan reconfirmed the retreat policy as a way of dealing with erosion, there were many other issues covered in the document. Mr Darney said the plan would provide a more consistent approach for coastal management.

"The draft plan supports the long-standing policy of planned retreat and proposes to establish a uniform 20 metre development-free buffer between the erosion escarpment and human settlement," he said.

"Currently council generally has a 20 or 50 metre trigger for planned retreat, depending on the coastal precinct.

"The new approach proposes a uniform 20m trigger distance for relocatable dwellings in all coastal precincts.

"This will establish and maintain a buffer to absorb immediate coastal hazards and accommodate the natural coastal processes.

"Also included in the draft plan are 17 priority management actions.

"One of the actions includes a proposed risk analysis audit of rock structures, both private and public in relation to public safety, the integrity of the structures, impacts to the surrounding environment and to develop a plan that describes how to manage the structures.

“This will include beach access, beach amenity and environmental processes.

Emergency

"Another proposed action is to carry out a study of storm surge, wave height and direction thresholds in relation to the overtopping of Jonson Street car park in Byron Bay.

"The draft plan also provides an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for how to implement planned retreat in the event of a coastal emergency.

“The EAP will explain council’s and other agencies responsibilities and actions in the event of a coastal emergency.”

 The ‘cleaned up’ draft plan is expected to go back to councillors next month for a decision on when it goes on public exhibition

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