Community drop-in session for Belongil Ck Estuary Opening Strategy

Published on 06 November 2018

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People who are interested in the Belongil Creek catchment are invited to a community drop-in session to share any information they may have and learn about the development of the Belongil Creek Estuary Opening Strategy.

James Flockton, Flood Engineer with Byron Shire Council, said the session is an informal way for people to talk to staff and consultants about Belongil Creek and the future management of the estuary, particularly the creek mouth. 

“Council is in the early stages of developing the Belongil Creek Estuary Opening Strategy which will detail how Council will manage the creek mouth into the future,” Mr Flockton said.

“Belongil Creek is known as an intermittently closed and open lagoon system (ICOLL) with the sandbar at the mouth of the creek periodically opening to the ocean,” he said.

“Council, under a Crown Lands permit, has periodically opened the mouth of the creek when water levels reach a certain height to reduce the risk of flooding in the catchment.

“We work closely with various local stakeholders when we do this because it is a sensitive environment and stakeholders have conflicting needs that all need to be managed,” he said.

Whilst the Belongil Creek catchment is important habitat for fish, shorebirds, and other native flora and fauna, it is important to recognise that since the early 1900s the creek mouth has been opened to drain the creek to allow for agricultural production.

“It is resulted in urban development across areas of flood-prone land and Council has to manage this situation and balance the needs and amenity of agriculture, people and businesses with the sensitive environment,” Mr Flockton said.

“The purpose of the drop-in session is to find out from people what they value about the Belongil Creek catchment and gain some information about their understanding of the reasons why we sometimes have to open the mouth of the creek.

“The consultants will then use this information to develop the Draft Belongil Creek Estuary Opening Strategy which will be put on exhibition and there will be the opportunity for the community to comment on what Council is proposing,” Mr Flockton said.

The drop-in session will be held on Monday 12 November at the Byron Community Centre, Jonson St Byron Bay from 3:30-6:30pm.

For more information contact James Flockton, Flood Engineer, on 6626 7158.