Ballina Shire Council is not closing any beaches in the area on March 1.

Councillor Keith Williams met with the South Ballina Residents Association on Sunday afternoon to deny any closures.

"There was an erroneous report at the Richmond Valley Council (RVC) meeting last week that said Ballina Council was shutting the beach on March 1, but Ballina Council does not have the power to make that decision, and has made no decision about that," he said.

 

 

Cr Williams explained control of the beach is with Crown Land, and access to the beach depends on who owns the land that track goes through.

"Many of those are owned by National Parks, and some of those are either owned by Ballina or Richmond Valley Council," he said.

"It looks like a possible consultation process was discussed but the representative from RVC thought a closure was happening.

"It's important that we come up with a solution that doesn't end up leaving people feeling like they have been locked out.

"We need to come up with a solution that improves what is happening in South Ballina, stop those environmental impacts, but still allow some usage of the beach.

"As a councillor, I don't want to be the person that has fished at the beach for 40 years 'no, you can't do that anymore' … I want us to find a way where that can still happen."

 

>> 'If we can't catch you, we'll be waiting': 4WD hoons warned

 

Cr Williams said the Ballina Council general manager, Paul Hickey, contacted Richmond Valley Council before the meeting, to correct the information.

"Both council are getting pressure from locals to address the damage that has been done to the beach, and the poor behaviour exhibit by some drivers," he said.

"Both councils are aware that we have a problem that has to be managed."

Ballina Shire Council has been quite upfront at trying to look ways to regulate or limit hooning and destruction by 4WD vehicles in their beaches, but the issue lays in the hands of State Government.

 

4WD Vehicles on South Ballina Beach where the population of Ghost crabs and the birdlife who eat them have vanished
4WD Vehicles on South Ballina Beach where the population of Ghost crabs and the birdlife who eat them have vanished

 

The councillor said Ballina Council does not have any 4WD-related issues or motions on its agenda for this week's meeting.

"We are not looking to make any decisions in relation to this, we are talking to the state government agencies and trying to work out what our options are, and the assurances that I received from state government agencies is that they will consult with residents before they proceed."

Ballina Shire Council closed the Patchs Beach access at South Ballina last year.

National Parks closed the South Ballina Break Wall Road entrance at Mobbs Bay on September 18, 2020, and until June 30, 2021, due to traffic safety risks.

Public vehicle access to South Break Wall is prohibited.

Walkers and cyclists can still access the closed section of road to get to the beach and break wall.

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