Richmond Valley Council is proposing to restrict four-wheel drive access to its beaches.
Richmond Valley Council is proposing to restrict four-wheel drive access to its beaches.

Locked gates, barriers to prevent 4WDs on our beaches

More beaches on the North Coast could soon be closed to four-wheel drives, with Richmond Valley Council set to follow Ballina Shire Council's lead.

The 4WD access points at Moylans Lane and Keith Hall Lane at South Ballina were closed last year due to safety and environmental concerns.

Following the Patch's Beach closure, 4WD access to South Ballina beach has still been available via the National Parks entrance and Empire Vale Rd.

These accesses are not managed by Ballina Council, but the council is working with government agencies and neighbouring councils to advocate for the cessation of 4WD activities on South Ballina Beach.

The closures are having a significant impact on Airforce and Broadwater beaches, which are in the Richmond Valley Council area.

A meeting involving both councils, National Parks and Wildlife and the Department of Planning and Environment was held in December.

It was acknowledged that Ballina's decision to close its beaches would "lead to heavier traffic on Richmond Valley Council beaches".

National Parks officers have requested the Boundary Creek access be closed, with four-wheel drives only allowed to enter Airforce Beach and drive to a point south of Salty Creek lagoon.

At tonight's Richmond Valley Council meeting, councillors will vote on a course of action.

A report written by the manager of development and environment, Andy Edwards, has recommended closing the Boundary Creek access point and restrict driving on Airforce and Broadwater beaches to a point 100m south of the coffee rocks.

This would allow vehicles to use about 7.5km of beach.

 

Richmond Valley Council is proposing to close the Boundary Creek beach access.
Richmond Valley Council is proposing to close the Boundary Creek beach access.

 

"There will be a cost associated with closing the Boundary Creek beach access point," Mr Edwards wrote.

"These costs are likely to include the installation of a lockable gate and barriers, key distribution to required users and new signage."

It comes as the council revealed it had already started increasing enforcement activities at Airforce and Broadwater beaches.

There has been "some improvement" in driver behaviour, but there has been "considerable" traffic.

Around Australia Day, there were up to 400 vehicles on the beach.

Rangers issued 50 fines and 12 warnings for offences such as exceeding the speed limit, failing to give way to pedestrians or slow for shorebirds, parking on the footpath and having dogs in a prohibited area.



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