Protection levy plans

STATE Government plans to make owners of erosion-threatened coastal properties pay protection levies have been welcomed by one Byron beachside resident.

The proposed legislation was a step in the right direction, said John Vaughan, who has a home at Belongil Beach.

“It means that we are likely to be able to protect our land without interference from the local council,” Mr Vaughan said.

He said any money and equity problems were not an issue and would be sorted out ‘in the mix’.

The legislation would enable owners of threatened properties to take emergency measures to protect their own properties for the first time.

It would also open the door for councils to impose coastal protection levies.

Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said all councils struggled with the legal responsibility of looking after coastal zones without any financial assistance, especially in the light of rate-pegging.

“The proposed legislation will complicate our situation, because we already have unapproved works on our beaches,” she said.

Cr Barham said the draft laws were a response to some very heavy lobbying by property owners along the coast.

The council will meet on Thursday to consider submissions on the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan.

Recent amendments to the October 2009 draft include rewording of a point ‘to better reflect council’s intent, which is to remove interim erosion works at beach access locations’.



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