Increased patrols on local beaches to curb 'hoons'
MOTORISTS acting irresponsibly or "hooning" on Evans Head beaches have been warned the dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated.
Richmond Valley Council will increase ranger patrols from the start of the September school holidays as part of a broader strategy to address complaints of anti-social behaviour and traffic offences along the beach by some 4WD users.
Alongside a heightened presence of rangers, the council will also conduct an education campaign and review its beach signage to ensure beach rules and speed limits are clear.
The announcement comes after the council called for community submissions about the potential introduction of beach permits for 4WD users of the beach.
Following the public exhibition period, council received a total of 76 submissions, with 25 supporting a permit system, 30 saying no to a permit system, 10 wanted a free pass or a reduced rate and eight submissions stated there should not be any vehicles on the beach other than emergency, ranger or police vehicles.
Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said while submissions on the permit system were divided, more than 50 percent of submissions indicated there was a problem with poor behaviour on the beach, be it driving offences or anti-social behaviour.
"Airforce Beach is a popular destination which is valued by local residents and tourists alike," Mr Macdonald said.
"It is also home to endangered wildlife, in particular the Pied Oystercatcher which nests above the high tide mark.
"It is important we respond to the community and do our best to educate the public about their responsibilities and conduct enforcement activities where necessary."
The increased ranger patrols will start from September 28, the first weekend of the NSW spring school holidays, and be reviewed at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 financial year.
Mr Macdonald said council approved additional funding of $11,800 for the 2019-2020 year for the increased beach patrols by rangers.
He said council would continue to work with NSW Police, Crowns Lands and the National Parks and Wildlife Service as part of the strategy.
"Council has vowed zero tolerance on this type of anti-social behaviour, and infringement notices will be issued," Mr Macdonald said.
Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow said the increase in ranger patrols was a necessary investment to address the problem.
"Using a 4WD on the beach is a privilege and while most people respect the rules, a few bad apples can wreck the experience for others," Cr Mustow said.
"This is an investment in the future of an important environmental asset of the Richmond Valley for our local community and our regular visitors, and our valued wildlife."