Beach lovers outraged at dune destruction
WHILE some of the rules around driving on our beaches have changed in recent weeks, the law is clear when it comes to keeping off our fragile sand dunes.
In late April Coffs Harbour City Councillors voted unanimously to adopt the new Driving on Beaches policy.
While there are some new restrictions in place, it clearly states that: driving on dunal areas is strictly prohibited.
But over the weekend two Advocate readers have documented incidents of this occurring on our beaches.
Ruth Cully from Woolgoolga was outraged to discover deep wheel ruts in the dunes on back beach just under the blue water tower on Saturday morning.
"Driving in that area is not allowed, but to me the worst thing is they were clearly cutting into the dunes held together by fragile vegetation," Ms Cully said.
"The dunes already get a pounding from the elements and to be driving into that area is just disgraceful.
"I love our natural coastal landscape and I am also concerned about safety. Nobody has tried to run me down or run my dog down but it's still a concern."
A report presented to Councillors when they were considering adopting the new policy expressed similar safety concerns.
A dog was fatally injured by a 4WD in November last year on a local beach and many submissions during the public consultation period cited incidents of vehicles travelling too fast along the beaches, often close to children and dogs off leash.
Bruce Clark also contacted the Advocate over the weekend after photographing well worn tyre marks through the dunes from the beach leading away from Boambee Creek towards Coffs Harbour.
"Please run a story on the use of four wheel drives on the dunes on Coffs Harbour beaches.
"The area is well known as a nesting site for migrating birds. Considering so much work has been done protecting areas all along the coast I don't feel the situation in Coffs Harbour is unacceptable."
Both of the beaches where this destruction has been photographed are known nesting sites for turtles and Little Terns.
Signs informing beach users of the new regulations are yet to be put in place but to read the new policy follow this link on Council's website.
Beach users are encouraged to report sighting of shorebird nesting and marine turtles to National Parks and Wildlife Services on 6650 2900.
To report illegal driving on beaches, or bad behaviour you can use the Snap Send Solve app.