Have your say on driv­ing on beaches

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS -

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:

Boambee Beach:

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.

Darkum Beach:

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 Beach:

Ar­rawarra Head­land to Ar­rawarra Creek en­trance deleted to re­flect Soli­tary Is­land Ma­rine Park (SIMP) pro­vi­sions and com­pet­ing uses.

Corindi/Pipeclay:

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.

Photo: CHCC

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.

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