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Byron Bay gets ready for king tides

Byron Shire Council workers were battling the weather conditions yesterday to put in place geobags before king tides hit tomorrow and Wednesday nights
Byron Shire Council workers were battling the weather conditions yesterday to put in place geobags before king tides hit tomorrow and Wednesday nights Cathy Adams

IAN ASTLEY lost another metre of sand from his Belongil property over the weekend, so he's preparing for the worst when king tides hit Byron Bay tomorrow and Wednesday night.

Mr Astley, who manages Bluewater on the Beach, said the forecast for north-east winds, a northerly swell and two-metre tides could have a devastating effect.

“Byron Shire Council has done some temporary work this weekend with geobags, but they only have another 40 or so left,” he said.

“I am very nervous about the king tides.

“We just don't know what to do any more. We're almost in the ocean as it is.”

The tide is expected to peak at 2.08 metres at 8.39pm tomorrow, and again at 2.08 metres at 9.30pm on Wednesday.

Another Belongil resident, Merv Whicker, said the council's works would only alleviate the problems temporarily.

“A rock wall from one end to the other would be better,” he said. “This should have been dealt with years ago.”

Mr Whicker has lived at Belongil his whole life, but has had his property on the market for two years.

“I don't know if the erosion issue is affecting property prices,” he said. “I think the main reason my place hasn't sold is because of the global financial crisis. But I'm in no hurry to sell and move.

“I'm optimistic that Belongil landowners will be able to stay at their properties in the long-term. Once we start getting the northerly winds, the sand will start building back up again. It just hasn't had a chance to do that since the last storms.”

However, Mr Astley said the erosion had hindered property owners' chances of selling.

“We're trying to sell another one of our properties as well, but no one is interested. Not any more,” he said.

“But nobody wants to put their hand up to do anything permanent to stop the erosion.

“Belongil is unstable, but this is still a public beach and the council, or the Department of Lands, must make sure it is safe.

“If there is a major slip, then someone could be killed.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Lands has warned residents to stop any 'unauthorised works' to restore pedestrian access to the beach.

General manager Graham Harding said any work on Crown land was illegal.

“I ask the community to be patient until the reinstatement of the beach access path is completed,” he said.



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