Ballina 4WD enthusiast Denis Magnay, a member of the Northern Beaches Users Club, at the entrance to the beach access track to Seven Mile Beach north of Lennox Head.
Ballina 4WD enthusiast Denis Magnay, a member of the Northern Beaches Users Club, at the entrance to the beach access track to Seven Mile Beach north of Lennox Head. David Nielsen

Council to put brakes on 4WDers

PERMITS will soon be needed to take four-wheel-drive vehicles on to Lennox Head’s Seven Mile Beach.

Ballina Shire councillors unanimously approved the plan at their meeting last week, and the council will now call for submissions.

The permit system would then be introduced on July 1 this year.

It would cost $55 for an annual permit or $33 for six months. A 30-day permit would be available for $22.

Denis Magnay, from the Northern Beaches Users Club, said the money collected through the permit system should be used to maintain access tracks.

“The entrance to Seven Mile Beach gets eroded every time we get some bad weather,” he said. “It can get pretty difficult to negotiate.

“And sometimes you get people who are not so familiar with four-wheel-driving.

“A lot of people use thisaccess track, so as soon as it starts to get bad the council should come to fix it up.

“That’s the only thing I will be harping about – I don’t mind at all that they are bringing in a permit system.”

However, Mr Magnay said he would oppose outright any moves to further restrict 4WD access to the beach.

“There has been some talk about banning access on weekends and public holidays,” he said.

“As it is, we can only use about 3.3km of the whole beach.

“They are slowly chiselling away at our rights.”

Lennox Head Landcare member Malcolm Milner said they were happy with thedecision to introduce a permit system.

“Our main interest is ens-uring that drivers who are using the beach are properly aware of all the factors that need to be taken into consideration, especially environmental concerns,” he said.

“The dunes must be protected.

“We hope that by having a permit system, permit-holders will get something to set out the reasons behind the rules that they must follow.

“It’s about educating drivers.”

Cr Jeff Johnson, who has been lobbying for a permit system, said it was a win-win situation.

“Clearly there’s a conflict of use between 4WDs on the beach and the other passive beach users,” he said.

“There are issues of safety, and cars must stay off the dunes.

“But now 4WD users must read the code of conduct, sign it and agree to abide by it.

“If the rules are broken, there will be penalties.

“Most 4WD users are responsible and do the right thing, but some don’t, so it will be good to have this more formal process.

“And the money we collect from the permits will go back into looking after the beach.”



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