The coastline at Wooli.
The coastline at Wooli. Adam Hourigan

Mayor reluctantly takes on coastal zone management

CLARENCE Valley Mayor Richie Williamson has reluctantly moved a motion to accept a report which will begin the transfer of coastal zone management from State Government to the council.

Tuesday's environment planning and community meeting was asked to consider a report from the NSW Government calling for consultation on stage two of its coastal management reforms.

After a prolonged silence from the councillors, it was left to the mayor to move acceptance of the officer's recommendation that council make a written submission to the report.

"I'll do it, but only reluctantly," Cr Williamson said.

MAYOR Richie Williamson
MAYOR Richie Williamson Adam Hourigan

Later the mayor said his reluctance stemmed from the cost-shifting from state to local government in the coastal zone management plan.

"This is going to cost us millions over the years and the residents of coastal communities," he said.

Last year the council was caught up in the State Government's drive to complete coastal zone management plans for coastal erosion hotspots.

Under pressure it produced the Brooms Head Beach and Lake Cakora Drafton Coastal Zone Management Plan, the Wooli Beach CZMP and the Wooli River Estuary Management Plan.

To date the government has endorsed none of these plans but on Tuesday council considered a report rejecting the Wooli Beach CZMP.

In June last year the council included a measure in the CZMP which Wooli residents have used successfully to combat beach erosion.

It involved a combination of "beach scraping" and sand nourishment using heavy machinery which changed the shape of the beach and cut back the erosion problem.

Unfortunately the viable source of sand for beach nourishment was from within the nearby Yuragir National Park, which contravened the state's national parks policy, causing the plan to be rejected.

This stand-off highlights one of the issues for the council in its attempts to battle coastal erosion, with the region's hotspots hard up against national parks.

The council notes it is responsible for 96km of open coastline and a further 695km of estuarine tidal riverbanks not including the Wooli Wooli River, Lake Cakora and the Sandon River.



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