Why Byron Bay needs to become Surfers Paradise

ALL this rain dumped upon us and if you reflect on it, in a half-glass-full moment, the strangest conclusion is it can only improve the Gold Coast's global reputation.

A report last month to council revealed the Coast had soared up the ranks of the world's most desired cities, jumping from 35th to 14th largely because the city offers a "safe environment".

Fingal beach during the storm event. Photograph: Jason O'Brien.
Fingal beach during the storm event. Photograph: Jason O'Brien.

On the beaches the council deserves an "A" on its report card, doing all the heavy lifting.

Across the past 10 years, council has spent $800,000 extending the Kirra Point groyne, almost $14 million on dumping three million cubic metres of sand on beaches, $1.63 million on the Narrowneck artificial reef and $9.5 million on the Surfers Paradise sand back pass project.

Large crowds at Snapper Rocks gather to watch the surf. Photo: Scott Powick Newscorp.
Large crowds at Snapper Rocks gather to watch the surf. Photo: Scott Powick Newscorp.

At least $1 million is spent annually on a dredging operation in both Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creek to replenish beaches at Burleigh and Palm Beach which delivers 60,000 cubic metres of sand. Council officers remove about 15 tonnes of litter.

Mayor Tom Tate knows the beaches are number one drawcard for locals as well as the 13 million plus annual visitors to our city and key to our international reputation.

"Since 2012, I have ensured successive councils have invested in programs such as dune planting, sand pumping, dredging, artificial reefs and the reconstruction of our reinforced A-line barrier installed beneath the dunes," he says.

Gold Coast beaches stand up to the storm. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT.
Gold Coast beaches stand up to the storm. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT.

The Mayor acknowledges his 14 councillors have "fully supported this approach" and managed it during annual budget talks.

"The events of the past 72 hours created substantial tidal surge and ocean swells - yet our beaches took the brunt, and held together well," he says.

"A key reason was the pure volume of sand on our beaches. This amount of sand is testament to all the work that has gone over for the past eight years and I thank City staff for their commitment to delivering 55km of spectacular ocean beaches year after year.''

So when many of us are forced to holiday at home, and after 12 months of border barricades about dipping a toe in the water at northern NSW, Byron Bay is a disaster zone.

Sand bagging and headlands saved some beachfront businesses from being washed out to sea.

Concrete pathways jutting out with a several metre drop to washed up wood below will not encourage tourists to visit soon.

The northern NSW township has never wanted to become another Surfers Paradise with its skyline, and fair enough to protect its green beauty.

But Byron Bay has the real blues with its eroded beaches, and its council and community must look north to see how it can invest and save its most vital asset.

 

 

paul.weston@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Why Byron Bay needs to become Surfers Paradise


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