Pre-lodgement community engagement: coastal protection works at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay

Sandbag wall and beach nourishment – Clarkes Beach (February 2021)
Sandbag wall works - Clarkes Beach (February 2021)

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands (Crown Lands) constructed a sandbag seawall and undertook dune rebuilding and imported sand to Clarkes Beach in October and November 2020. The works were designed to provide temporary protection from coastal erosion. Crown Lands now intends to apply for development consent for the works to remain in place for an estimated 5 years.  This will allow time for the Beach Byron Bay café to be reconfigured and/or relocated, and for a precinct plan to be developed and implemented to manage coastal erosion at Clarkes Beach.

Notification of Community Meeting

The project team will hold an online session to provide information and obtain feedback on the proposal on Friday 9 July 2021, from 10 am to 11 am.

Residents can register their interest and receive a link to the online session by emailing robyn@hydrosphere.com.au by cob 6 July 2021.

Have your say

You can submit your feedback on the proposed development up until 4:30 pm 16 July 2021 to robyn@hydrosphere.com.au.

Your feedback will be considered in the development application (DA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be submitted to Byron Shire Council.

Council will undertake further community consultation once the development application has been submitted, as part of the exhibition process.

The Proposal

Clarkes Beach has been subject to significant coastal erosion over recent years, notably since July 2019 and July 2020 when storm events coincided with high spring tides, causing significant erosion of the dunes. Crown Lands constructed a temporary sandbag seawall and undertook dune rebuilding and imported sand to Clarkes Beach in October/November 2020. The work was designed to mitigate, over the short term, coastal erosion risks to the adjacent Crown reserve and ‘Beach Byron Bay’ café’ (the café).

The work consisted of approximately 650 sandbags forming a sandbag wall approximately 80 m long and 7 m deep, constructed on a geotextile underlayer with sand backfill. Over 2,700 m3 of clean beach sand has been imported to the site to re-build the frontal dune behind the sandbag wall.

Clarkes Beach Holiday Park is located to the east of the works site. Previous coastal erosion fronting Clarkes Beach Holiday Park to the east of the café has been managed by the construction of temporary sandbag walls in July 2019 by NSW Crown Holiday Parks Land Manager (trading as Reflections Holiday Parks). The Crown Lands sandbag seawall ties in with the western extent of the sandbag seawall installed by Reflections Holiday Parks. The Reflections seawall is the subject of a separate development application by Reflections Holiday Parks.

Aerial view of sandbag wall and beach nourishment in front of café and adjacent sandbag wall in front of Reflections Holiday Park – Clarkes Beach (January 2021)
Aerial view of sandbag wall and beach nourishment in front of café and adjacent sandbag wall in front of Reflections Holiday Park – Clarkes Beach (January 2021)

The current proposal will seek development consent to retain the coastal protection works for an estimated five years. This will allow time for the Beach Byron Bay café to be reconfigured and/or relocated, and for a precinct plan to be implemented to manage coastal erosion at Clarkes Beach. The precinct plan will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders including the adjoining Reflections Holiday Park and Byron Shire Council. Crown Lands will continue to collaborate with Byron Shire Council throughout the development of a Coastal Management Program for the Byron Bay embayment.

As part of the proposal, Crown Lands will also undertake dune revegetation work to increase the stability of the frontal dune.

The development application will be accompanied by an EIS and will be referred to the Northern Regional Planning Panel for determination. As part of the EIS, the project team will consider any potential environmental impacts and recommend any needed mitigation strategies in accordance with local, State and Federal legislation. The EIS will be informed by detailed assessments of coastal hazards, impacts on biodiversity and cultural heritage. The development application and EIS will be placed on public exhibition during the development assessment period and the community will have the opportunity to provide feedback.