Residents of Belongil at Byron Bay are demanding the right to undertake erosion protection works to prevent their homes from falling into the sea following recent severe storms and king tides.
Residents of Belongil at Byron Bay are demanding the right to undertake erosion protection works to prevent their homes from falling into the sea following recent severe storms and king tides. JAY CRONAN

Belongil Beach homes on the brink

BYRON Shire Council has denied the NSW Government directed it to abandon a 'planned retreat' policy at Belongil.

“No government department has ordered council to amend the draft LEP (local environment plan), or the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan,” Council planning director Ray Darney said.

A spokesman for NSW Planning Minister Kristina Keneally also said there were no directives, but said there was 'good dialogue happening between Planning and the council'.

Media reports yesterday suggested the Government had asked the council to reconsider the policy.

Belongil owners are angry that Byron Shire Council has adopted a 'planned retreat' policy, encouraging owners to move and stopping them from building seawalls.

But the council policies are also angering coastal residents around the State.

Residents of the Mid-North Coast village of Old Bar, where homes have already been lost to erosion, say Belongil residents, where 25 homes are threatened by coastal erosion, deserve the same care as the Victorian bush fire victims.

Joanne Turner, who lives in Old Bar near Taree, said she had seen lives ruined because of forced retreats.

Three houses in Old Bar were issued with council orders to demolish because of coastal erosion last October.

“Not since 1978 had any homes been lost due to coastal erosion in NSW,” she said.

Ms Turner said it was wrong that people were indifferent to the plight of coastal property owners because they were perceived as 'rich'.

“As a community we should support each other,” she said.

“People invest a lot in their homes and we are hard-working.”

She said it was hypocritical that the community respected the right of people to live in the bush and came to their aid during bushfires, but didn't support coastal residents.

They were both victims of climate change.

“Are we just going to let street after street be wiped out?”

Ms Turner said coastal homes could be saved by dredging and building groynes.

Read more...

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