Values slashed: Beachfront property owners living at The Belongil in Byron Bay are blaming the Byron Shire Council’s coastal retreat policy for a dramatic drop in their property values.
Values slashed: Beachfront property owners living at The Belongil in Byron Bay are blaming the Byron Shire Council’s coastal retreat policy for a dramatic drop in their property values. Gary Chigwidden

$1b eroded from beachfront land

BYRON Shire Council's policy of coastal retreat has knocked at least $1 billion off the value from Byron's beachfront land, says Belongil property owner John Vaughan.

Rates notices that went out late last month showed the big falls in property values.

The average value of land at Belongil, which is subject to the policy, dropped by half.

Mr Vaughn said the policy had made some properties practically worthless.

The Ballina and Tweed shires, which didn't have the policy, didn't have the same drop, he said.

However, mayor Jan Barham rejected claims the policy, which will leave beachfront properties unprotected against erosion, was responsible.

“The policy's been there for 22 years,” she said.

Cr Barham said people for a long time had been swayed against buying at Belongil because of the known risks.

Valuer-General spokesman John McClymont said the valuations were based on sales data, which could have been affected by localised factors.

However, he said the global financial crisis would have had a greater effect.

Scott Baldwin, of The Professionals Byron Bay, said that he hadn't seen the Valuer-General's assessment reflected in actual market values.

“The volume of sales has been down across the board and Belongil has long been a tightly-held position, but the perceived value out there at the moment is not reflected to the extent that the Valuer-General is saying,” he said.

“I have never felt that the planned retreat policy has seriously affected people's desire to live on The Belongil. Those who want to live on the beachfront accept the fragility of the environment.

“It's like buying a boat – a boat can sink if you're not careful.”



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