POPULAR PLACE: Yamba's Pippi Beach.
POPULAR PLACE: Yamba's Pippi Beach.

Pippi access for November decision

THE future of recreational four-wheel-drive access on Yamba's Pippi Beach will be decided at the November meeting of Clarence Valley Council.

A community survey has revealed public opinion is divided on the proposal, which could see the beach off-limits to vehicles if adopted.

Conflict between beach goers and recreational vehicles has been identified as one of the key issues, however, environmental reasons have also been cited with a recent study undertaken by the University of Sunshine Coast suggesting the use of four-wheel-drives on beaches could cause harm to the ecosystem.

Yet the council's acting director of works and civil Peter Birch said no specific study had been undertaken on Pippi Beach itself and the main concern appeared to be safety.

"The beach and beach access is used by both pedestrians and vehicles ... people are saying they don't feel safe," Mr Birch said.

"Obviously there are other beaches in the Clarence Valley where people can go with their four-wheel-drive vehicles."

He said the number of submissions received as a result of the community survey was a little surprising, but indicated there was a lot of interest in the decision.

The council received 850 submissions altogether with the majority of people supporting continued use of recreational vehicles on the beach. However, in terms of detailed written submissions, 96 were in favour of banning four-wheel-drives from the beach and 15 written submissions were against closing the beach.

The remaining responses were in petition form with a 652 opposing and 210 in support of the closure.

The current beach access policy was developed in 2004 following amalgamation, with recreational vehicles permitted south of the beach access to Flat Rock, a distance of about 800m.

Submissions have now closed and a report on the responses will be prepared for the council's November meeting.

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