'Have we gone mad?' Call for tide to shift on coastline plan

A BYRON councillor has criticised the shire's range of proposals for the future of the Main Beach foreshore.
During the council's ordinary meeting on Thursday, Cr Jan Hackett said she had experienced a "light bulb moment" while pondering an item included in the agenda.

Councillors unanimously voted to support the staff recommendation: that they acknowledge community engagement activities for the Main Beach Shoreline Project.

There are currently seven concept design options related to this project.
The council is to receive a report detailing the outcome of this community engagement in early 2021.

Cr Hackett didn't propose a different course of action but raised concerns about all of the options before the community.

 

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"We have favoured our assets over the life of the beach," Cr Hackett said.

"We've scraped, we've replenished and we've built sea walls.

"Beaches can and do take care of themselves if we let them be, with a little helping hand after every storm.

"Why are we supporting the enemies of the healthy resilient beach rather than the beach itself?

"Have we gone quite mad?"

Cr Hackett said instead of planning to reinforce the shoreline along part of the coast the community should be planning for retreat from the shore.

"We don't have to retreat now," she said.

"We can retreat in 50 years now if we do the right thing but at some stage we have to retreat.

"None of these seven options for our foreshore consider the whole beach, its health or its longevity even though our tourist industry lives off it.

"Should we choose any of these, erosion will continue to run rampant either side of the wall and the man made headland … will continue to grow out into the sea.

"These options are saying to me that we would prefer to wall in our assets and live with artificial beaches, or none at all, than to move in step with the naturally migrating beach."

Cr Basil Cameron agreed it was important to "be cognisant of the long term issues that face our beach".