SPEAK UP: Councillor Duncan Dey addresses residents who turned out yesterday to protest a rock wall proposed to be built at Belongil.
SPEAK UP: Councillor Duncan Dey addresses residents who turned out yesterday to protest a rock wall proposed to be built at Belongil. Nolan Verheij-Full

Confooshus say man who needs rocks...

UPDATE: ONE particular sign has stood out from the rest at the Byron Residents group protest on the weekend.

In a picture posted on Facebook by Niche Pictures, a woman holds a sign reading "Confooshus say man who needs rocks should not not build on sand in first place."

Very witty!


INITIAL REPORT: THE Byron Residents Group and up to 300 supporters marched from the wreck at Byron Bay's Main Beach to Belongil to protest against a proposed rock wall for the site that could cost rate payers more than $1million.

But the protest isn't expected to stop there with Byron Bay Residents Group member Cate Correy revealing locals have been encouraged to stop paying their rates as a way to fight the proposal.

"It is sort of legal, but you have to pay interest on what you owe," she said.

The 100 metre rock wall is set to be built to protect open land and private houses on, or near Manfred St at Belongil.

"We object to paying for a wall that will protect private houses and destroy the beach," Ms Correy said.

In recent advertisements the Byron Council said it supported the construction of a rock wall because it was under a court order to protect the land.

It is currently doing this with sandbags but they are costly to maintain and building a rock wall would be cheaper in the longer term.

Ms Correy said council's argument is flawed because it fails to take into account the damage the rock wall would do to the beach.

She said any savings made by not maintaining the bags would be lost on sand replacement programs.

Former Byron mayor and current Greens MP Jan Barham also spoke at the rally.

Ms Barham said the issue has been unfolding for at least three decades and said the current council is doing what it can to reverse the State Government-sanctioned policy of planned retreat, whereby residents gradually move out of the area

Ms Barham said in previous years council supported the planned retreat approach and those who purchased houses in the area after 1988 knew this to be the policy.

She said there were plenty of locals who didn't buy in the area at that time because they acknowledged the risks involved.

Ms Barham said the rock wall plan would require residents from throughout the shire to paying for private speculation.

She also said the proposal had not been been put out to public discussion.

Protestors warned the rock wall could undermine other beaches in the bay with negative effects on surfers, families, tourists and businesses in the area.

Ms Barham said none of these people have been given a formal opportunity to have their say on the proposal.

Councillor Duncan Dey said he was frustrated by how much time the issue has taken with council.

"It has become a farce," he said.

"There is no point building the rock wall before we have completed a Coastal Zone Management Plan that was proposed 15 years ago."

The saga will continue on Wednesday when the Byron Council holds an extraordinary general meeting to deal exclusively with the issue.

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