OCEANFRONT ISSUES: Erosion at Belongil Beach.
OCEANFRONT ISSUES: Erosion at Belongil Beach. Jay Cronan

Works can hold back erosion at Byron - for now, says report

BYRON Bay should consider engineering solutions to last 50 years, but be prepared to abandon properties to coastal erosion in the longer term, says a report published in the Australian National University journal, Agenda.

The study by Macquarie University's Risk Frontiers, that calls itself "an independent research centre sponsored by the insurance industry", says concerns about the future impact of climate change have paralysed management of the coastal zone in NSW.

It says Byron Bay has become a "flashpoint" for a collision between local politics, environmental ideology and property rights.

"We think that whilst there will probably come a time when abandonment needs to be considered, as certain areas become impractical and too expensive to protect from climate change, that time is not here yet," the report's lead author, Dr Kevin Roche of Risk Frontiers, said.

"We believe that in the meantime the coast in and around Byron can still be enjoyed by all and those people that are fortunate enough to reside there at the present time should be able to continue.

"But, these residents also need to be aware that there well may come a time when they do have to vacate and they should not lose sight of that."

Byron Bay is one of several spots classified as beach 'erosion hotspots' by State governments.