Belongil plans are waved by
BELONGIL residents have cancelled a proposed community meeting on coastal erosion because legal constraints mean Byron councillors cannot participate.
The meeting was planned for next Tuesday, but the Belongil Progress Association has said only two councillors would attend, and both had said they could not speak.
“The whole point of the public forum was to open a dialogue between landowners and the council, so it was decided not to go ahead,” Belongil spokeswoman Christine Ahern said.
In a letter to the Belongil Progress Association, Byron Shire Council's general manager Graeme Faulkner explained that the council had been asked by its insurers not to take part in any forum, as it may prejudice a case between the council and a Belongil landowner that is due to go before the Land and Environment Court next month.
“Accordingly, council and staff are unable to participate in such a meeting at this time, although it is recognised that individual councillors may wish to exercise their rights beyond the insurer's request,” he said
Mr Faulkner goes on to say the council has noted the community's concern about the upcoming draft Coastal Zone Management Plan and would keep the community informed as to when the draft plan would be put on public exhibition.
“Management is hopeful that council may be in a position to release the draft plan for public exhibition in the near future with a view to engaging in informed discussion,” he said in the letter.
Ms Ahern said next week's planned meeting had been called in an attempt to clear up confusion and anxiety about the coastal retreat policy, which Belongil residents vigorously oppose.
Representatives from the Department of Lands, Environment and Climate Change and the Department of Planning had all indicated that they could attend.
Ms Ahern said the association hoped to reschedule the meeting for later in the year.