Mayor David Wright and Councillor Eion Johnston meet residents at Patchs Beach to discuss the implementation of a 4WD permit system last month.
Mayor David Wright and Councillor Eion Johnston meet residents at Patchs Beach to discuss the implementation of a 4WD permit system last month.

Councillor pushes for 4wd permit system to reduce conflict

THE scope of a 4WD permit system to combat “beach hoons” on Ballina beaches will again be debated before Ballina Shire Council.

Over the years, there have been many complaints about the behaviour of four-wheel-drivers on the long stretch of beach, which is popular for fishing but also home to the endangered pied oystercatcher.

While the ball is rolling to introduce the permit system, Councillor Jeff Johnson hopes to speed things up at council’s ordinary meeting on Thursday, when he will move a motion asking council staff to limit beach 4WD permits to vehicles registered in the Ballina Shire.

He will further ask that council receives a report that investigates moving the vehicle access point further to the north from where the current horse access is.

Among his main concerns, are recent numerous reports of 4WDs accessing the dunes, leaving behind rubbish and even incidences of illegal camping.

“Recent images of vehicles on South Ballina Beach showed a high proportion of QLD registered vehicles on the beach,” Cr Johnson said.

“Ballina Shire is one of the few areas along our coastline that allows vehicles to access the beaches.

“While the beaches are Crown Reserves they are managed by Ballina Shire Council and rate payers currently pay for any beach clean ups, maintaining the access tracks, administration of the permits and periodic monitoring.”

He said Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head had become increasingly popular, resulting in a conflict between vehicles and other beach users.

“The section of beach north of the surf club is very popular with dog walkers,” he said.

“Reducing the number of vehicles to Ballina Shire registered vehicles and moving the access point further to the north would significantly reduce the existing conflict between user groups.

“By moving the vehicle access point further to the north, the existing access point would become more popular with dog walkers and other beach users and help to reduce the crowding immediately north of the surf club. The beach access that runs from South Ballina down to Broadwater is not controlled by council so this motion is not related to that area,” Cr Johnson said.



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