Life's a beach
By LEONIE BRANN
CASUARINA Beach residents yesterday vowed to fight to keep their beach open.
"The beach and the lifestyle that comes with it is the reason most of us bought land here," said Bambi Daul, a member of the Casurina Residents' Association.
"We bought our land with the guarantee we could access the beach. Now council is trying to keep us off the beach by not providing lifeguard services."
Ms Daul's concerns were mirrored by a large group of residents who came out yesterday to protest a decision by Tweed Shire Council administrators to call for a "risk management assesment" for Casuarina Beach to look at closing the beach to swimming.
They are critical of the admini- strators' decision not to pay $28,000 for lifeguard services for Casuarina Beach, especially after the surf, regarded as "treacherous" in lifesaving circles, claimed the life of a 50-year-old United Kingdom man in July this year.
The man's death came only days before the Casuarina community was to hold meetings with Salt Surf Lifesaving Club to take a more proactive role in making its beach safer.
Since then, a subcommittee of the Casuarina Beach Residents Association (CRA) focused on beach safety has been formed. Their first job was to install numbered beach access signs at entry points to help emergency services find locations on the long stretch of sand that is the jewel in the crown of the billion-dollar residential and tourist development.
Residents say their concern is not just for the safety of their families.
"We are local, we know the beach - it's the tourists and visitors we are concerned about," CRA president Julie Bennett said. "Imagine coming here on a holiday and not being able to use the beach, its ridiculous."
Beach Safe Committee member Gordon Walker said he was disgusted by the way administrators had decided to pay $122,000 for patrols during the busy Christmas and Easter holiday periods at six other Tweed Coast beaches, but would not fund patrols at Casuarina.
"It was a slap in the face when (administrator) Lucy Turnbull said the developers had let us down by not providing enough for patrols, but providing patrols is council's responsibility," he said.