Council orders clean-up of beach lagoon
By BRIAN BIGG
BYRON Shire Council has acted to repair Clarks Beach and its image.
A report in The Northern Star yesterday revealed how a lagoon of fetid water was ruining the town's image and stinking up the beach.
The lagoon was fed by a town stormwater drain and from the sea. After yesterday's story appeared, the council's Director of Asset Management Services, Brett Lee, tested the water quality in the lagoon and decided it had deteriorated near to the point when it would have to be cleared.
He told The Northern Star he had decided to clear the lagoon and planned to take an excavator on to the beach at 9am today to dig a channel for the water to run off to the sea.
"It is not a permanent solution," Mr Lee said.
"The channel will only last as long as weather conditions allow. It may be a day, it may be a month."
Mr Lee said his department tested the quality of the water in the lagoon every month and acted whenever it dropped to a point where it could become a health hazard.
"It ebbs and flows with the weather and tides," Mr Lee said.
"When it reaches a certain height we apply to the Marine Parks office for permission to clear it."
Because the lagoon drains into the sea, the Marine Parks people have the final say.
Byron Bay's Clarks Beach was named last year by Forbes magazine in its list of the world's sexiest beaches.
It is a big attraction for the town's multi-million dollar tourist industry.
Mr Lee said his department was looking at long-term solutions to the problem.
He said one idea put forward was to shape the sand dunes to form a natural channel to the sea to allow the water to escape.
Suggestions that the storm water drain be diverted into the town's main pipes would not work because they were not big enough to take the extra water, he said.
Mr Lee said the council was modelling and budgeting for several alternatives.
An eventual answer would need full council approval and funding before the lagoon would be la-gone.