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Our Town Our Say Group attend Surfside meeting

The Beagle Editor, Those following the Surfside issue might be interested in this briedf report of a meeting that some of our representatives attended today. This afternoon a small group of property owners met at Surfside with Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Innes, Clrs Nathan, McGinlay, Tait and Director of Planning, Lindsay Usher to discuss concerns regarding council’s sea level rise policy and how it impacts on their properties in Surfside. The property owners are seeking to have council pressure the State Government in relation to a joint exercise for the construction of a rock wall to protect their land on the north side of the Batemans Bay bridge.

Council advised that it is currently at step 3 of a 5 stage process. Surfside resident and engineer, Viv Sethi expressed frustration and dissatisfaction that the process should progress to step 3 without step 2 being fully investigated.

Also present was developer Mr Geoff Fielding who purchased a large parcel of land in Wharf Road about 15 years ago. Mr Fielding suggested a way forward was for council to fund 50% of the cost of an independent engineer’s report to be carried out by Engineer, Mr Angus Jackson, a coastal engineer who, according to Mr Fielding, is probably the most recognised coastal engineer in Australia.

Mr Fielding has,, since the meeting, expressed the view that a seawall would protect the estuary - being a community asset - from erosion, which causes the silting up of the channel and the constant expense of having to dredge it. Such works, he said, would be of enormous benefit to the community both from a cost benefit and the additional boating tourism point of view. He added that the construction of this protective Seawall would also result in additional jobs being created and thus allowing some of our youth to stay in our town and not have to leave to seek employment.

There was much talk about the community’s dissatisfaction with Council in general and that this issue was just one of many that the community is unhappy about. It was further suggested by one of the participants that the Mayor’s return to office may be in doubt if all of the current criticisms of council’s are not resolved satisfactorily before 2020. When a threat of legal action against Council and or State Government was raised, the Mayor said that she could no longer discuss the matter with the residents. However, Mayor Innes did commit to bringing the proposal suggested by Mr Fielding back to council for consideration although no time frame was given. Next council meeting is 22nd May 2018.

Our Town Our Say has extended invitations to our next public meeting on 29th May 2018 at the Batemans Bay Soldiers club, to sitting (and Opposition counterparts) State and Federal MPs as well as Eurobodalla Shire Councillors. So far we have received three acceptances – Fiona Phillips (Labor), Leanne Atkinson (Labor), Pat McGinlay (Greens Councillor). Our Town Our Say Group


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