Damage to the dune system at Patchs Beach on the weekend.
Damage to the dune system at Patchs Beach on the weekend.

Will council cut off 4WD access to Patchs Beach?

THE CHAOS at Patchs Beach caused by some 4WDers who are legally accessing the beach must come to an end, according to Ballina’s Deputy Mayor Eoin Johnston.

Council does not have power over the dune system which is managed by Crown Lands NSW, but it can control 4WD access at the Patchs Beach entry point, and Cr Johnston wants the road to the beach cut off permanently.

4WDers would have access to the beach via other entry points south of Ballina, but it would end the mayhem for Wardell residents, according to Cr Johnston.

“There are too many people doing the wrong thing,” he said.

“People are roaring over the dunes, roaring over the beach, it’s been unnerving for the locals.

“There are no toilet facilities, no rubbish bins, so you can imagine we’ve had all manner of complaints.”

Driver disobeying regulations at Patchs Beach on the weekend.
Driver disobeying regulations at Patchs Beach on the weekend.

4WDing on Ballina beaches was banned for a few months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The quiet months were refreshing for local residents.

“Locals said it was brilliant, they saw pied oystercatchers and other birdlife emerge, there were families on the beach enjoying the peace,” Cr Johnston said.

Since restrictions were lifted weeks ago there have been signs of destruction on the beach.

Cr Johnston said the damage was likely caused by visitors.

“A video of a convoy on the beach went viral on Facebook a few years back,” Cr Johnston said.

“It captured the hearts of pseudo 4WD clubs in south east QLD. I’m not talking about the nice, family clubs, I’m talking about reckless people who drive over the dunes in convoys.”

He is proposing the access way is gated, to provide entry for Indigenous groups and appropriate local people.

“Some of the people who have been fishing there for 50 years will be upset, people with traditional rights and local people like that can have a key to get through to beach,” he said.

Cr Johnston will raise the matter at Thursday’s Ballina Shire Council meeting, and is asking for the support of his colleagues.



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