Beaches under pressure: new policy to guide vehicle access
ALWAYS a hot topic - cars on beaches - will be up for discussion at this week's council meeting.
Councillors will consider a new Draft Vehicles on Beaches policy with adjustments to permissible 4WD areas.
It is likely the new plan will be placed on public exhibition for 28 days from mid-January to mid-February.
Some of the proposed changes include the removal of vehicle access to Hearnes Lake Beach due to environmental sensitivity. North of Hearnes Lake Road to Wills Creek is a nesting area for the endangered little terns and records of nesting sea turtles (Green and Loggerhead turtles).
At Arrawarra, vehicle access from Arrawarra Headland to Arrawarra Creek would be removed to reflect Solitary Island Marine Park (SIMP) provisions and competing uses.
Access to Darkum Beach (in the Safety Beach area) would also be removed with due to the topography of the beach.
At Woolgoolga Back Beach the allowable area will be limited to north of the access point to keep vehicles away from the creek entrance which could potentially move north due to sea level rise and other climate change impacts. This may be reviewed in the future as these processes impact further on the existing car park.
Parking on the beach after launching boats will no longer be permitted on vehicle prohibited beaches.
A report prepared for councillors has highlighted the value of our beaches to both locals and visitors:
'They are a significant driver of tourism and support a diverse range of recreational activities. Beaches and their associated dunal systems are vital ecological resources, providing habitat to a variety of native flora and fauna as well as protecting terrestrial areas from coastal erosion.
'There have been long held concerns by many members of the community in regards to the environmental impacts of 4WDs on beaches from damage to dunal vegetation, impacts from sand compaction, impacts on little tern colonies and turtles, impacts on shore birds, as well as safety concerns for other beach users. This has resulted in requests to review the beaches where vehicle access is permitted to reduce the potential for environmental damage.' the report reads.
New city centre committee
ALL positions on the City Centre Master Plan Committee have expired.
Expressions of interest from Peter Dowling, John Gowing, Cherie Parik, Rob Ellingham and Oliver Gee to form a new committee will be considered by councillors.
Advertising for the positions began in June this year and again in late August/September due to limited interest.
It was established in 2012 to assist in the development of the City Centre Master Plan.
Suspension of alcohol free zones
Councillors will consider the temporary suspension of alcohol free areas in Woolgoolga to allow the continuation of the popular 'Eat Street' events in Market Street.
Eat Street was first held in September 2017 as an extension of the annual Curryfest event celebrating Woolgoolga's unique Punjabi heritage.
With more successful events held throughout 2018, organisers wish to hold four similar events next year including one to be held as part of Curryfest.
The events are proposed for the following Saturdays from 3pm to 11pm: January 12, April 13, July 13 and October 5.
The event involves a number of mobile vendors in Market Street complementing the permanent dining venues showcasing craft beer, cider and wine products. Stall holders will be permitted to sell alcohol to patrons within the fenced event area.