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Council blames ongoing opposition to open coast CMP for further delays to Surfside protection

In a letter to the Eurobodalla Coast Alliance Inc. in response to their open letter published in The Beagle In that open letter the Alliance said: Eurobodalla Shire Council has been urged to fast track development of a coastal management plan to protect Surfside and the northern shore of Batemans Bay from storms and erosion.

Eurobodalla Coast Alliance Inc President Russell Schneider AM said it was “totally unacceptable” that local MP Andrew Constance’s commitment to find an engineering solution to protect Surfside and surrounding areas had been delayed for two years. (On February 25 2019 Mr Constance announced the Government would commit at least $5 million for an “engineering solution” at the Surfside area.

“I fear the NSW bureaucracy hijacked this commitment and has been stalling on it all this time,”Mr Schneider said.

“Council recently accepted a $250,000 grant from NSW—which was promised two years ago---to prepare a coastal management report which should have been developed long ago.

“Council management told Councillors it would take at least 12 months and possibly longer for the plan to be developed.

“In the meantime Surfside could be washed into the sea. Council needs to get moving on this with a sense of urgency. Council have now responded saying that they have not been "directly responsible for these delays". "While we appreciate your concern over the delay in finalising the open coast CMP, it is

important to recognise that Council has not been directly responsible for these delays. "Reforms in coastal legislation and the requests for additional studies and community

consultation to progress the open coast Coastal Management Plan (CMP have played a significant role in the delay in progressing the CMP. "Ongoing opposition to the open coast CMP has resulted in further delays, which has exacerbated the uncertainty for property owners in Surfside and other coastal areas in the Eurobodalla.

"Please be reassured that the delivery of the open coast CMP is of the highest priority of

Council and the NSW Government. Considerable progress has been made in establishing a

new Coast and Environment Management Advisory Committee (CEMAC) and engaging a

suitable consultant to finalise the program.

"However, to expect that a report be provided to community in the next 3 months (April

2021) is unrealistic particularly when one of the criticisms with the previous CMP process

was the level of community consultation undertaken. In listening to this feedback, Council

have revised the project brief to ensure detailed community consultation is included in

finalising the open coast CMP.

"The reports prepared by GHD will be considered in finalising the open coast CMP, as the

Northern Batemans Bay Coastal Taskforce have required the report be considered in

finalising the project." Local Surfside resident Viv, when provided with a copy of Council's letter asked "Who the hell are the mysterious ' Northern Batemans Bay Coastal Taskforce'?" They say "The reports prepared by GHD will be considered in finalising the open coast CMP. The Council don't have the common decency to explain the basis of their approval of the GHD study to the local Progress Reference Group. "The local member knows that the GHD study has been totally rejected by the community. In fact the local member promised that the RMS 'Internal Review' (that he personally requested) would be made available to us. We have been stitched up and the local member has bolted. This will cause a riot from property owners when they find out."

"Further,the response is titled: 'Open Coast Coastal Management Program'. We have personally explained to the local member that Surfside/Wharf Rd are in the Estuary and not an open beach. We also explained that the public servants intended using the discredited GHD study to back their claim that we are an open beach, thus allowing them to use the also discredited Princess Jetty tide gauge. "This is nuts and very transparent nuts at that. The local member has totally thrown us under the nearest bus. What a disgrace."

Above: When Promises deliver Pineapples