Rules of beach engagement
By MEL MARTIN
THE question of where cars are allowed on Arrawarra Beach has left Rod McKelvey scratching his head, and he doesn't think he's alone.
"There's supposed to be a partnership between Regional Parks, the Marine Parks Authority, and Coffs Harbour City Council in the management of coastal zones," the Coffs Harbour City councillor said.
"But the parties seem to have different interpretations of where the vehicles are allowed to go."
According to the Marine Parks Authority (MPA), which manages Arrawarra and Corindi Beaches up to the high water mark, the only vehicles allowed on Arrawarra Beach are those launching a boat.
And they're only allowed on the southern end of Arrawarra Beach, between the Aboriginal fish traps at the headland and the estuary.
Because as far as the MPA is concerned, the estuary is where Arrawarra Beach ends and Corindi Beach ? where the MPA does not allow vehicles ? starts.
That's also the view of the Geographical Names Board of NSW, which describes the beach as extending north of the headland to Arrawarra Creek.
Coffs Harbour City Council, however, allows vehicles on Arrawarra Beach without restriction on whether they are launching boats or not.
And as far as they're concerned, Arrawarra Beach goes three kilometres past the estuary, to the old Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley boundary where it becomes Corindi Beach, and is managed by the Department of Lands who also say there currently is no restrictions on vehicles.
Despite the confusion, there are no signs to help hapless drivers work out where they are allowed to go.
This, according to a council spokeswoman says is standard procedure ? signs are only erected where cars are not allowed.
In an area with three caravan parks, and which is becoming increasingly populated, Cr McKelvey is concerned this is a recipe for disaster.
"During the holidays especially, there is a significant number of people on the beach," he said.
"Cars and people on the beach don't necessarily mix, especially cars and kids.
"When mum and dad are coming from the caravan park onto the beach with the kids, the kids see the sand and they bolt, they don't look left and right for cars."
Cr McKelvey says he would personally prefer to see cars off the beach, but at the very least he says the departments need to line up so they are all talking about the same thing.
"We need to get our act together to be fair so that everyone knows what the rules of engagements are," he said.