Dear Beagle Editor,
Council has announced the commencement of Stage Three of the Eurobodalla Coastal Management Program (ECMP). In this phase of the project, Council will assess the options of PROTECTING or ABANDONING some or all of our key commercial, residential and tourist redevelopment precincts in and around Batemans Bay, in the face of predictions of accelerated sea level rise and more severe coastal storms.
The appointed consultants have already identified the entire Batemans Bay foreshore from Surfside to Batehaven as a COASTAL VULNERABILITY AREA, under the new NSW Coastal Management Act. Council is now obliged to develop a long-term solution to save this real estate or surrender it to the sea. What a big call for a little council.
People and their properties are the pawns in the game of sea level rise politics, and despite their public denials, Council bureaucrats have for years promoted a policy of “managed retreat” for low lying coastal settlements within the shire.
The application of a “retreat” or “abandonment” solution may delight some bureaucrats, but it will bring Batemans Bay to its knees.
At the same time, if councillors opt to defend the Bay, they will face opposition from the state government’s Office of Environment and Heritage, and its “retreat oriented” Coastal Council. It will also face the challenge of obtaining government funding for the protection of private coastal properties. It will take some very special councillors to fight the state government for the property rights of the affected Eurobodalla ratepayers.
Based on their performance to date, I doubt that the current group of councillors has the conviction to ignore the advice of their public servant minders, and take the battle to Macquarie Street.
Eurobodalla Regional Coordinator
NSW Coastal Alliance