DRIVING ON: A draft policy for a review of 4WDs and introducing a driver permit were voted down by Coffs Harbour City Council.
DRIVING ON: A draft policy for a review of 4WDs and introducing a driver permit were voted down by Coffs Harbour City Council. Keagan Elder

Proposed Coffs Coast 4WD policies get voted down

COUNCILLORS voted against introducing a new draft policy and charging beach-going 4WD motorists after most deemed it unnecessary.

Currently drivers can enjoy free vehicle access to eight Coffs Coast beaches with another currently inaccessible.

In February 2015 Mid North Coast Region of Councils recommended beach permits be introduced from Coffs Harbour to Great Lakes.

Most MIDROC councils proposed to introduce a permit fee in 2017-18 at a common price of $60.

But Coffs Harbour has no permit system in place.

At a council meeting on Thursday, Cr Sally Townley questioned the recommendation over the two proposed policies.

Cr Townley said she believed it was time to review four-wheel-drive policies on public beaches, concerning environmental matters.

"A review of the vehicles on beaches, we haven't done that for 20 years and I think that's definitely due," she said.

But Cr Townley questioned whether the introduction of a fee would change driver behaviour and whether it would be worth the indicated $60 fee.

Should there be a fee introduced for beach-going 4WD motorists?

This poll ended on 06 March 2017.

Current Results

Yes, I think there should be a fee.

17%

Yes, but I think the fee should cost less than $60

5%

No, I don't think there should be a fee.

76%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Cr Keith Rhoades said he was also up in the air about the draft policies.

Cr Rhoades queried the logistics of the extra costs of hiring designated rangers to police the new policies and the geography needed to be covered.

But Cr Rhoades said it would be worthwhile to put the policies forward to the public for feedback.

Cr Michael Adendorff voted against the policy.

"In Australia, unlike some other places, the beaches belong to us all. And that is my own reason for speaking against even considering this type of imposition or restriction on the freedom of use of beaches," he said.

"It's a difficult (vote) against, but it's based in philosophy and common sense."

Cr Adendorff said "hoons" who broke the rules often did not buy permits anyway, so the introduction of fees would do little to stem issues.

Cr Paul Amos also voted against putting the review to public.

"In this instance I'm starting to think we haven't really got a problem. Eventually we will have to look at something on the beaches with the vehicles," he said.

"I'm doubtful we've got a problem here. I think a lot of people are enjoying themselves without hurting too many other people and in turn, they're enjoying life's simple pleasures."

The motion was voted against 4-3.



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