Byron mayor still stonewalling

THE view across Byron Bay from the back deck of John Vaughan's Belongil home is so beautiful it could make you weep.

But the only emotion yesterday coursing through the man currently waging a legal battle against Byron Shire Council for the right to build a stone shield between his home and the ocean was relief.

However, Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham slammed the source of Mr Vaughan's new hope - a State Government plan that would let homeowners in 19 NSW 'hot-spots', including Belongil and Lennox Head, build rock walls outside their homes to block erosion, provided they meet environmental guidelines.

Mr Vaughan described the move as a victory for common sense, but Cr Barham said it offered Belongil landowners a 'false hope'.

Under the new measures announced yesterday, councils would have to include temporary protection for homes in their emergency storm plans and the State Government would be able to approve rock walls and other defence structures for individual residents, even if the council had rejected them.

Mr Vaughan said news of the measures yesterday had put Belongil property owners in a 'euphoric' mood.

Mr Vaughan is fighting for the right to put a rock wall - which he would pay for - in front of his home. The wall would plug a gap in an existing rock wall he said had protected surrounding properties since about 1974.

However, Cr Barham said the environmental requirements attached to the Government approval process meant the new measures could not help Belongil residents.

“They (the Government) are not being mindful of how difficult it would be to deliver; to provide the outcome of property protection without environmental impact,” she said.

“It's virtually impossible, and we know that in Byron because we've done the work.

“In Belongil, this is just creating an unrealistic expectation for property owners.”

Byron Shire Council's draft Coastal Zone Management Plan goes on exhibition from Thursday until December 22.

SHOULD YOU BE ABLE TO BUILD YOUR OWN SEA WALL? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948

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