Home // Northern Rivers News // SHOULD COUNCIL BAN BEACH FRONT FOUR-WHEEL DRIVING?

SHOULD COUNCIL BAN BEACH FRONT FOUR-WHEEL DRIVING?

Animals, humans and heavy vehicles have co-existed on Far North beaches for decade.

But after a decline in healthy wildlife populations, there are renewed calls to ban the popular pastime altogether.

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About Georgia Anderson

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One comment

  1. avatar
    Dr Richard Gates

    Thank you for posting this important story about the impact of four wheel drives on the wildlife which inhabit our beaches and dunes. While Richmond Valley Council may patrol the beaches that has nothing to do with the impact the vehicles have on the wildlife not only in the dunes but on the beach itself. Council can patrol until the cows come home but the pressure of the increasing volume of traffic is literally killing the beach. The problem is only going to get worse as numbers increase and the beach is never given a break to recover.

    Scientific research shows that if you keep disturbing the resting shore birds all the time, which happens now, they waste lots of energy flying away leaving little for egg production and a new batch of young. Eventually the population will collapse. We have evidence of that now.

    There is also the very large issue of safety which was not covered in the story. While most drivers behave responsibly there are a number who don’t. I have witnessed speeding drivers blow vehicle horns at kids playing on the beach.

    The evidence that a safety problem exists is shown by the fact that Richmond Valley Council has recently approved an ‘off leash’ dog area to the south of the entrance of the 4WD track at Evans Head because dogs were at risk of being run over by vehicles to the north. It is a sad indictment of council that it is only too happy to look after dog safety while ignoring human safety such as kids playing on the beach to the north of the entrance.

    Quite apart from that is the impact that vehicles have on people who go to the beach to relax and enjoy the natural environment. As it currently stands you have to keep looking over your shoulder to see who’s coming particularly when the tide is up and the beach strip is narrow.

    Vehicles on the beach are not compatible with the local environment and need to prohibited. The only folk who should be allowed access are emergency vehicles, licensed professional fishers and statutory authorities responsible for the beach and National Parks.

    The sooner the restriction is put in place, the better for the health of the beach and safety.

    Of course Council will present the argument that such a restriction will affect local businesses but as usual there will be no evidence to support the argument. Nature and safety don’t get a look in at all. There is no balanced view. It’s all narrow economic interest.

    It is well known that the natural environment is a huge attraction for tourists. In our own interests and the interests of business we need to preserve it

    The problem covered in the current story is not new. In 1997 NSW Coastal Policy “A sustainable future for the NSW Coast” is the following statement : ” It is clear that an approach which promotes unchecked population growth [our current problem in Northern NSW] in the coastal zone can not succeed. This is because the natural assets which make the coastal zone desirable as a place to live will be diminished and the ecosystems necessary for the survival of a variety of life forms will be destroyed.”

    Richmond Valley Council and the former Richmond River Shire Council have known about this population pressure problem for years and have failed to act while other councils have stepped up to the mark and closed their beaches to protect what is important to our long term sustainability. It begs the question ‘why is council unable to see the damage to our beach and dunes system’ when blind Freddie can see what’s happening? This the same council which for years released partially-treated effluent from its sewerage treatment plant into a waterway running in Broadwater National Park, an action which affects Salty Lake (Lagoon) just 3km up the beach from the 4WD entrance at Airforce Beach to this day: Swimming and fishing are prohibited in the lake because of council-induced contamination.

    Time for council to take some appropriate action to protect our interests.