Have your say on driving on beaches
THE popular pastime of driving on local beaches is under review as Coffs Harbour City Council seeks community feedback on a draft policy proposing changes to where people can drive on the sand on the Coffs Coast.
An online survey will launch on Monday floating the need for public safety, access for recreational fishers and environmental protection on beaches. Putting the issue to a poll,
The Advocate found this week it’s clear there are mixed feelings over the practice, with 30 per cent of our online readers saying yes they support vehicles on beaches, 17 per cent said yes, but only at selected beaches, 43 per cent did not support it, while 8 per cent said no but were happy for selected beaches to carry vehicles.
“Beaches are a significant driver of tourism for the region and support a wide range of recreational activities, including fishing. At the same time, beaches and their dunes are also vital ecological habitats to a variety of native flora and fauna, as well as offering protection from coastal erosion processes,” said Mick Raby, the council’s director sustainable infrastructure.
“There are long-held concerns by many members of the community in regards to the environmental impacts of 4WDs on beaches – from damage to dunal vegetation and the impacts on minute organisms in the sand, little tern colonies, turtles and shore birds, as well as safety concerns for other beach users as our coastal suburb populations grow. This has resulted in community requests to review the beaches where vehicle access is currently permitted under the old 1996 policy, to reduce the potential for environmental damage.
The changes proposed from the old 1996 policy are:
Reduce area to exclude the mouth of the Boambee Creek estuary to reduce conflict with dog off-leash, family usage and environmental sensitivity.
Hearnes Lake Beach:
Removed due to environmental sensitivity. North of Hearnes Lake Rd to Wills Creek comprises a nesting area for the endangered little terns and green and loggerhead sea turtles have also been recorded nesting by NPWS.
Removed due to limited vehicle accessibility. Assessment indicates that due to the topographic constraints no sustainable, practical access can be maintained.
Woolgoolga Back Beach:
The allowable area has been limited to north of the access point to keep vehicles away from the creek entrance. This is in response to the Willis Creek Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan, which notes the Willis Creek entrance may move to the north as a result of coastal processes responding to sea level rise and other climate change impacts.
Arrawarra Headland to Arrawarra Creek entrance deleted to reflect Solitary Island Marine Park (SIMP) provisions and competing uses.
Modified to exclude the area north of the existing vehicle access point off Ocean St due to increased risk of conflict between recreational beach users and vehicles.
Station Creek Beach:
Via access through Yuraygir National Park and North Beach, part of Bongil Bongil National Park, are now included within council’s draft policy.
Read the changes in full on our website. The council website survey opens Monday and runs to Thursday, February 28.
YOUR VIEW: The survey being run by Coffs Harbour City Council on vehicles on beaches will open on Monday, January 14 and run until February 28.