Letter from the Surf Coast Shire
Recently one of our members sent a letter to the Surf Coast Shire asking some reasonable questions about the Coastal Management Plan and the demise of the Bells Beach Advisory Committee.
We have taken the liberty of posting the Mayor’s reply because it illustrates how out of touch the Shire is with most of the people that regularly visit and enjoy the Bells reserve.
A few points of interest:
This would appear to be a positive move by the Shire but it also shows the lengths that the Shire will go to to accommodate these coaches. Surely the ranger has enough to look after without being expected to baby sit bus drivers? Don’t forget, these buses should not even be on the reserve in the first place. Bells is a surfing recreation reserve and commercial interests are not allowed to operate without a permit. Tour buses are commercial interests.
What about the erosion caused by the storm water drain at the bottom of the stairs?
We are sure that is not natural erosion, but let’s ask the experts:
That is an excerpt from a report commissioned by the council. I think we’ll take Coffey Geotechnics’ word for it, thanks Dean.
Then there’s the cement rock. As you can see from our photos the only time it is covered in sand is when the council wants it hidden, that is, before the Rip Curl Pro starts.
The rest of the paragraph is a fine example of political doublespeak. The cement is a remnant of the original stairs, built prior to the Surf Coast Shire’s day. The point is, up until the new stairs were built by the SC Shire that lump of concrete was up the top of the stairs. It was during the construction of the new stairs that the cement rock found its way to the bottom of the cliff, and that was on the SC Shire’s watch. It obviously didn’t happen too long ago because the vegetation hasn’t grown back yet.
The claim that the cement rock isn’t causing any erosion is also rubbish. During heavy rains the water flows between the rock and the cliff face, further eroding the bottom of the cliff. Any semi regular visitor to Bells can tell you that.
And what about the buses:
Changes to the bus parking arrangements, be they the ones currently implemented or proposed for the future, are all about improving access for the buses at the expense of the drive in visitors, i.e. surfers and others that are willing to take the time out to enjoy the reserve. If you haven’t experienced the bus problem at Bells / Winki first hand see our bus section.
The SC Shire was able to get its Master Plan and Coastal Management Plan signed off by using some very cynical political manouvering. To summarise, the BBAC signed off on the plans on the understanding that they would still have input during the implementation phase. The Surf Coast Shire knew that the community members of the BBAC would never approve of some parts of the plan. The Surf Coast Shire weren’t worried about that – they planned to sack the BBAC and get rid of the members that were most likely to rock the boat. The SC Shire would then do whatever they want, all the while claiming that they had full community input into the planning process.
Or as the Mayor would say it:
See the BBPS story for more background on the BBAC sacking.