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Belongil rock wall divides Byron councillors

UNPROTECTED: A king tide at Belongil Beach in December takes its toll on the dunes.
UNPROTECTED: A king tide at Belongil Beach in December takes its toll on the dunes. John Vaughan

THE honeymoon among Byron Shire's new councillors is over - with the first major schism appearing at the last council meeting over the perennial issue of rock-wall defences of the Belongil foreshore.

Acting on a motion put by Sol Ibrahim and seconded by Rose Wanchap, council voted to investigate the possibility of acquiring, free of charge, large boulders from the Pacific Highway upgrade contractor to use on the beachfront.

Councillors Duncan Dey, Simon Richardson, Basil Cameron and Paul Spooner voted against the motion - the latter arguing that rock seawalls did not work.

A recision motion was later lodged, meaning that no action could be taken on the decision until it was debated again at next week's council meeting.

Surprise of the day was the backing of Cr Wanchap for the move, when her Greens party has for years resisted any attempts to protect houses along the spit in the interests of the policy of "planned retreat".

Belongil resident Laurie Lynch said after the meeting: "We have had a rock wall on the beachfront since the 1970s.

"It was built to save the surf club and the buildings in Jonson and Bay Sts after the major storms of the late '60s. For over 40 years it has preserved the town and allowed all the new development we see today.

"So even Cr Spooner would have to concede that this structure has been a great success."

The councillor was guilty of "ideology and wishful thinking", Mr Lynch said, which weren't enough to protect the town and its residents.

The council also voted that the situation at the Terrace Park Caravan Park in Brunswick Heads be resolved, with long-term residents whose vans cannot be relocated, to be shifted to another site in the park within three years.

Topics:  belongil rock wall tweed shire council



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