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ECA Applauds $5 million “Save Surfside” gift from State Government

The President of the Eurobodalla Coast Alliance Inc Russell Schneider AM today congratulated local Member, Transport Minister Andrew Constance, for reaffirming his opposition to “planned retreat” and producing funding to back his commitment. “The $5 million now earmarked for defensive works for Surfside is a clear indication that the Minister has been able to convince his colleagues that property owners are entitled to be protected rather than see their land surrendered to the sea,” Mr Schneider said. (Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton today announced the Government would provide $5 million to fund engineering solutions to Surfside’s exposure to coastal storm events and to deal with any erosion problems caused by the new bridge. This resulted from ongoing representations from Mr Constance to provide support. Mr Constance said he wanted the works completed by 2021 when the existing bridge pylons will be removed). “Until now Surfside residents have been confronted with Council mapping which declares their village as “vulnerable” to possible coastal threats. As a result they have found it difficult to obtain development approvals and insurance premiums have skyrocketed. “It is also reassuring that the Minister wants to ensure a proper study takes place to avoid possible “unforeseen consequences” which could affect other parts of Batemans Bay. This will avoid problems that afflict Surfside being translated to other areas. “Mr Constance’s clear and unequivocal opposition to planned retreat is a refreshing statement from our elected representatives. “And residents will welcome his assurance that Eurobodalla Shire Council will not be able to veto the project. “I am also delighted that Mayor Liz Innes has also again declared her ongoing opposition to “planned retreat.” “Their position is in marked contrast to that of other candidates and Councillors who are yet to declare their position on “planned retreat”. “Now that the State Government, through Andrew Constance, has committed to an effective mitigation strategy it’s time the Council management recognised planned retreat is not an option and insurance companies review their policy hikes which have been largely based on Council staff deciding to declare the area as ‘vulnerable’. “And given the commitment of both the local Member and the Mayor, combined with the State Government’s funding commitment, it’s time all Councillors joined their Mayor and declared their opposition to the offensive concept of ‘planned retreat’”

Photos by Peter Coggin

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