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BEACH RAGE: Calls for crackdown on illegal dune driving

FEELING "fairly bloody intimidated" was not what a Ballina Shire resident expected from what was meant to be a relaxed afternoon of fishing at Seven Mile Beach.

That was how the resident of more than three decades, who didn't want to be named, felt when he said he was circled by three four-wheel drives and later confronted by the drivers on Sunday.

The aggression came after the resident snapped shots of their cars traversing the dunes to report the illegal driving to Ballina Shire Council.

A short time later, the resident acknowledged one of the drivers drove back and apologised.

The resident's fearful encounter comes days after National Parks and Wildlife warned irresponsible 4WD users against driving on the dunes in Broadwater National Park.

 

A resident, who didn't wish to be named, snapped one of the four-wheel drivers illegally  traversing the dunes at Seven Mile Beach on Sunday, May 21.
A resident, who didn't wish to be named, snapped one of the four-wheel drivers illegally traversing the dunes at Seven Mile Beach on Sunday, May 21. Contributed

He is concerned if the careless driving accelerates it could spell the end of 4WD access to the beach.

"It'd only take one incident of someone getting hurt on the beach and (the council would) close the beach tomorrow," the resident said.

"Unless this behaviour is stamped out, someone is going to get hurt."

In September, regular users of the beach issued a similar warning to reckless drivers on social media that their "actions will see us lose 4WD access".

The resident called for increased patrols on weekends to crackdown on the illegal beach driving, which he said is becoming more common on the popular beachfront.

 

But the council's manager open space and resource recovery Cheyne Willebrands said while 4WD use at Seven Mile Beach has increased, reported illegal activity and damage had decreased in the past year.

Mr Williebrand said the council will continue to monitor damage and reports of bad behaviour of 4WD drivers at Seven Mile Beach.

He said further usage of surveillance cameras and increasing patrols by police and council rangers may be implemented if behaviour worsens.

Manager of public and environmental health, Kerri Watts said during peak times rangers monitor the beaches, including Seven Mile, about twice a day while patrols are reduced to a few times a week throughout the off-season.

Ms Watt said the rarity of 4WD access al;ong the shire's coast usually means most drivers are compliant.

"The majority that use that area do the right think and support us," Ms Watts said.

 

Andrew Trezise posted these photos on the Ballina Information Exchange Facebook page, warning people not to drive on the dunes of Seven Mile Beach last year.
Andrew Trezise posted these photos on the Ballina Information Exchange Facebook page, warning people not to drive on the dunes of Seven Mile Beach last year.

Topics:  4wd beach access dunes northern rivers beaches northern rivers environment seven mile beach



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