An agreement was achieved on Monday in the Land and Environment Court proceedings between the owners of a Byron Bay property and Byron Shire Council over the issue of interim beach stabilisation at Belongil Beach following the May 2009 storm event.

The council said the agreement reached between the parties confirms that maintenance and repair of the interim protection works originally constructed by the council are permissible by the property owner on their Belongil property under the council’s existing Development Consent.

The original development consent allowed for the provision of interim sand-bag works at Manfred Street.

Following the May 2009 storm event, Byron Shire Council reinstated the Manfred Street public access with sand-filled geobags following the completion of the required risk and resource assessments.

Byron Shire Council’s general manager, Graeme Faulkner, said the council does not consider the agreement reached undermines the long-term strategy of ‘planned retreat’, but reaffirms that works not already the subject of an existing consent must be notified to council and approval obtained before commencing.

“According to Byron Shire Council records, the original development consent at Manfred Street allows for interim works which consist of geo bag and sand fill,” the council said.

“It does not permit hard materials such as rocks being placed on the beachfront. 

“The development consent at Manfred Street is valid until such time as Byron Shire Council has in place a long-term management strategy such as a Coastal Zone Management Plan. 

“The agreement confirmed council will be responsible to monitor, maintain and repair the interim beach stabilisation works at the Manfred Street site until the long-term management strategy is adopted.”

Council’s general manager confirmed that defence of this claim was undertaken on council’s behalf by its insurers, council having subrogated its rights. Accordingly, the legal costs associated with the claim have been met by council’s insurers, not ratepayers.

Mr Faulkner reminded all shire landowners that most developments in the coastal area needed development consent from council before they can proceed.

‘Development’ is defined by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, and includes erecting or demolishing a building, subdividing land, changing the use of land, or carrying out work on land.