Our draft of a letter sent to Tony Burke, federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Fairly dry reading but worth a look if your interested in the way we have to approach the powers that be. Thanks to Ross Anderson for huge input! (This is our draft but the letter that was sent is basically the same):
A letter to the Shire from ex BBAC member Andrew Dickenson:CEO and Councilors Surf Coast Shire Dear Councilors, Re: Bells Beach Advisory Committee / Coastal Management Plan
On 24 August 2010, the Bells Beach Advisory Committee passed a resolution endorsing the draft Coastal Management Plan subject to several important provisos including that the Council take ongoing advice from the BBAC as to the implementation of the Plan. The former Mayor, Libby Coker, and the current Mayor, Dean Webster, were both present at the meeting. Indeed, Dean Webster chaired the meeting.
On 22 September 2010 the Council adopted the Plan but resolved to review the terms of reference and the membership of the BBAC. The BBAC has not met since.
On 23 November 2010 the local press reported the former Mayor as saying that “We anticipate launching a revised committee early next year” and “There will be a fresh call for expressions of interest in joining the Bells Beach Advisory Committee advertised in local papers”. Nothing has happened since.
When the latest BBAC was appointed in September 2008, the Terms of Reference recorded that the appointment would be for 3 years ending in 2011. The Council’s decision to “review” the committee before the end of its term is a premature termination of the committee in circumstances where the Council, and the current Mayor, agreed to take ongoing advice from the committee. No reason has ever been offered for this termination. I find the Council’s decision offensive and ask that you explan the decision in writing.
Further, and more importantly, the BBAC endorsed the Plan in response to statements from Council representatives that by doing so the BBAC would enable the Council to act on the urgent need to repair the stormwater system, repair the septic system, and undertake erosion prevention work. In a media release on 21 June 2010, the former Mayor stated that “We have a responsibility to act. If we do not, Bells Beach reserve will be further degraded. Issues include erosion, inadequate toilets, traffic flow, parking and pedestrian safety”. Nothing has been done about any of these issues since that time.
The stormwater system still does not work. The septic system still does not work. The recent rains have caused the concrete slab left by the contractors who rebuilt the stairs to fall into the creek leading to more erosion. Still nothing is done.
Please urgently advise as to the Council’s current plan of action in relation to the Bells Beach reserve including:
- What is the Council proposing to do about the stormwater system?
- What is the Council proposing to do about the septic system?
- What is the Council proposing to do about the erosion?
- What is the Council proposing to do about the increasing number of tourist buses?
I look forward to your urgent response.
Ex members of the BBAC
The famous ‘lunch time letter’, hand delivered to the Surf Coast Mayor:17th November, 2010 The Mayor, Surf Coast Shire,
The Bells Beach Preservation Society wish to formally place on record that we do not support the current Bells Beach Surfing Reserves Coastal Management Plan for a number of very important reasons. We have made this decision based on;
- The Surf Coast Shire’s decision to disband the current Bells Beach Advisory Committee midway through its present term and prior to the implementation of the management plan, and most importantly,
- the fact that where community input has been sought to give balance to the competing commercial needs on the BBSR, the community’s advice has either been ignored or modified without appropriate consultation.
The Bells Beach Preservation Society wishes to place on record the following issues for urgent discussion with the Surf Coast Shire;
- The uncertainty that exists regarding the size and location of the proposed Winki Pop toilet,
- The lack of detail provided re. the urgent need for an effective bus quota/licensing system that limits and controls the present number of tourist buses currently visiting the reserve,
- The uncertainty and disregard the Management plan shows in regard to community concern regarding the amount and size of interpretation signage on the Bells Beach surfing reserve,
- The lack of appropriate methods / mechanisms built into the current BBCMP to ensure ongoing evaluation of the current works being undertaken and the possible future needs of the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve.
These are just a few of the issues that the Bells Beach Preservation Society currently seeks urgent clarification and answers to from the Surf Coast Shire. Until the appropriate community consultation is engaged in over these very important issues by the Surf Coast Shire then the Bells Beach Preservation Society declares that it has no confidence in either the current Bells Beach Coastal Management Plan or the Surf Coast Shire to carry out its legal duty to effectively and sensitively manage the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve.Yours Faithfully, Maurice Cole