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Thorn in Rose's side complains after shoe-throwing incident

LEGAL MATTER: Jim Beetson and Maggi Luke outside Byron Bay police station on the way to lodging their statutory declarations over the shoe-throwing incident at Byron Shire Council’s Thursday meeting.
LEGAL MATTER: Jim Beetson and Maggi Luke outside Byron Bay police station on the way to lodging their statutory declarations over the shoe-throwing incident at Byron Shire Council’s Thursday meeting. Christian Morrow

DRAMA around the shoe- throwing incident at Thursday's Byron Shire Council meeting heightened yesterday with the intended target of Cr Rose Wanchap's ire filing a statement with Byron Bay police and the council's general manager.

During the fiery meeting Cr Wanchap threw both her shoes at local Jim Beetson, who had been taunting her from the public gallery.

Tempers had frayed at the meeting with several contentious development issues discussed including the building of a rock wall at Belongil as part of Interim Beach Access stabilisation work at Manfred Street.

MORE: Six great shoe-throwing moments from recent history

After the shoe throwing, a block of five councillors including Cr Wanchap voted to go ahead with the work on Belongil Beach worth about $1.2m,prior to the completion of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP).

Mr Beetson was joined at the police station by Maggi Luke, who delivered a separate statement regarding Cr Wanchap threatening to slap her at a protest outside Cr Wanchap's office in October last year.

Cr Wanchap defended herself, saying Thursday's incident was a spur-of-the-moment action after sustained taunting from Mr Beetson.

"It was my way of saying I was not going to be bullied any more and I am tired of being insulted," Cr Wanchap said. "I did it for all councillors who get bullied."

MORE: A Rose by any other name wouldn't fling footwear so sweetly

Mr Beetson and Ms Luke are angry that Cr Wanchap appeared to be voting consistently with a group of what he called 'pro-development' councillors when she was elected to council on a Greens ticket.

Cr Wanchap said she could understand that people felt passionately about issues such as Belongil Beach.

"It's insulting to say we vote as a block, we just vote the way we feel we have to," she said.

"I am frustrated that it has taken so long to get a CZMP, we need to take action now to protect that 110-metre section of beach, 66 metres of which is in front of community- owned land."

"I am also concerned about the compensation that may have to be paid to land owners if planned retreat is part of the forthcoming CZMP."

MORE: Shoes fly as Byron Shire Council meeting gets ugly

Mr Beetson said he was concerned the council decision (regarding the rock wall) amounted to a misappropriation of funds.

"The money for the Belongil project is taken from infrastructure funds and other sources from a council budget already stretched."

The Belongil rock wall decision looks set to be challenged with Crs Paul Spooner, Simon Richardson and Duncan Dey yesterday lodging a rescission motion.

Topics:  byron shire council editors picks rose wanchap



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