GREAT WALL: The new rock wall at Belongil Beach complete with the new access stairs. The 106m long structure is currently covered with sand and hessian netting to promote vegetation growth.
GREAT WALL: The new rock wall at Belongil Beach complete with the new access stairs. The 106m long structure is currently covered with sand and hessian netting to promote vegetation growth. Christian Morrow

‘Urgent’ call to stop controversial rock wall

BYRON Shire councillors will tomorrow debate a controversial coastal hazard risk management strategy for Belongil Beach.

The proposal includes a $15 million seawall with walkway, public beach accesses and dune revegetation works.

Private landowners would pay for 80% of the works, with the council and State Government contributing the remainder of the money.

But Greens North Coast spokesperson, Jan Barham MLC, has written an urgent letter to NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, asking him to stop the rock wall from going ahead.

She said she was outraged by the seawall proposal, and said it was "folly to consider that it is feasible to defend the coastline".

Ms Barham also said the legal implications of reversing the planned retreat principal had not been revealed to the community.

"It is also an affront to many residents, as the planned retreat principle was advised to owners prior to their purchase of coastal land," Ms Barham said.

"It appears that the current council is willing to advance the property interests of a few and require Byron Shire's residents to pay for it.

"Byron Council cannot be allowed to proceed with such irresponsible considerations that undermine solid planning principles.

"Also, advice regarding the legal implications of reversing the long-standing and legally upheld principle of Planned Retreat hasn't been made known to the community."

Byron Shire Council's draft Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Byron Bay Embayment (draft CZMP) is currently being prepared and is due to be tabled and considered by the council for adoption at the extraordinary meeting on May 12.

It would then go on public exhibition.



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