Rocky Belongil decision now subject to rescission
ARAKWAL woman Delta Kay was in the Byron Shire Council Chambers last week to hear the decision by councillors to spend around $1.2 million to build a rock wall on Belongil Beach.
Crs Cubis, Ibrahim, Woods, Hunter and Wanchap voted to go ahead with the work as part of interim beach access stabilisation ahead of the formulation of a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP).
The decision is already the subject of a rescission motion from Councillors Dey, Richardson and Spooner.
Ms Kay was disappointed and angry at the decision saying, " ... we all knew what was going to happen with the pro-development councillors," she said
Ms Kay spent much of her early childhood years living at 2 Manfred Street, near the site of the proposed rock wall.
"I remember seeing houses fall into the ocean due to beach erosion, even with old car bodies and huge concrete blocks thrown onto the beach for protection," she said.
"So people buying here in the seventies and eighties would know they were going to have problems with erosion.
"Where is the consultation with Arakwal?
"Why are the Aboriginal cultural values being ignored? We need to wait for the CZMP plan to be put in place.
"Let's lobby State Government for financial support to buy out the Belongil residents; we don't want rock walls to damage our coastline.
"As a ratepayer and Arakwal custodian, I am seeking advice on withholding my rates in protest of the rock wall decision."
Deputy Mayor Alan Hunter defended council's decision, saying that he didn't think the forthcoming CZMP would be worth waiting for.
"We have been waiting for 20 years and I am a bit over it," he said.
"It's 110 metres between two existing rock walls - I just think we have to get on with it.
"I would rather not have to spend the money, but we are already spending around $250,000 a year to maintain the geo bags that are there now."
Cr Duncan Dey said some councillors appeared to have an obsession with the rock wall and thought the money would be better spent elsewhere in the shire.
"A lot of coastal policy is driven by a small interest group that somehow has managed to influence a group of councillors," he said. "Many of these landowners ignored the legal position and were quite aware that they have bought and constructed in an erosion zone.
"The collateral damage from this is that we are ignoring beaches in the north of the shire that are in greater peril."