Wyuna Rd Foreshore taken August 2020
Wyuna Rd Foreshore taken August 2020

Residents’ long battle to stop foreshore falling into river

A Tweed residents group, trying to protect their neighbourhood foreshore from erosion, feel like they have been hitting their heads against a brick wall for the past four years.

The Wyuna Foreshore Residents Group claim the council’s red tape has stopped them from personally paying to fix a public area they have personally maintained for the past four decades.

Home-owners along Wyuna Rd in Tweed Heads West, backing onto Terranora Inlet, have put a proposal to Tweed Shire Council to fix the council-owned foreshore from falling into the river by repairing the existing nine boat ramps and installing retaining walls.

Eleven residents have put their hands up to fund the proposal and almost 60 have signed a petition supporting it.

An alternate proposal by the council to install a collapsed loose rock retaining wall along the foreshore of Wyuna Rd and remove all but three boat ramps has been met with dismay.

The residents group argues this would remove all access to the foreshore, providing an unsafe environment for neighbouring residents and children as well as making it harder to identify hazards like used needles.

Group member Carl Simmonds explained the problem with this design, was the community would be paying to remove boat ramps that have provided access to the river and foreshore for more than 40 years.

He said the three community boat ramps would not work as the width of the easement was not wide enough to turn boat trailers around, creating a safety issue.

The WFRG claim the council has not done any repair or major works to that area of foreshore for the past 40 years and they are the ones who mow and clean the area.

Mr Simmonds says the wall behind his property, which has a 2:1 rake, was designed and approved with Department of Primary Industry consent, Crown Lands consent and council consent.

Map of Wyuna Rd foreshore in Tweed Heads South
Map of Wyuna Rd foreshore in Tweed Heads South

He cannot understand why the same cannot be done for his neighbours, who were knocked back by TSC as staff claimed the DPI did not approve the design.

Mr Simmonds claims misinformation about the proposal and his own development application within the council’s reports had caused confusion and set backs despite his attempts to rectify the fallacies.

He stated the WFRG’s proposal did not mean new boat ramps, there would be no new set of stairs, no dredging, no reclaiming land, no removal of mangroves, no removal of trees and would maintain full public access.

In response to detailed questions about the issue, a TSC spokesman said it had been a “protracted matter” and the council appreciated the residents were feeling “frustrated”.

“All parties have attempted to work together to find a mutually acceptable solution for residents, the wider public and the environment regarding the public foreshore reserve at Wyuna Rd,” the spokesman said.

“The residents’ proposal relates to private funding and construction of domestic structures on the Wyuna Road public foreshore reserve, which is community land.

“Recent correspondence from NSW DPI Fisheries states that they do not support the current proposal. This correspondence has been shared with residents.”

The spokesman said for the proposal to go further, the WFRG need to modify current plans to or have the proposal subjected to a higher level of assessment through an environmental-impact statement.

Mr Simmonds said he understand the EIS was an expensive process, the group would have to foot.

The TSC spokesman said councillors had resolved on August 6, 2020 to seek the exact requirements for an environmental-impact statement from the NSW Department of Planning.

“Council also resolved to determine an accurate cost to complete an EIS for the residents’ proposed plans. Residents will be informed of the anticipated cost when the requirements of the EIS are known,” the spokesman said.