Win for 4WD lobby group
AFTER a meeting last week with the 4WD lobby group, the Southern Beaches Users Club, the Department of Lands has seemingly backed down on plans to restrict vehicle access to beaches south of Ballina.
The authors of the draft Pied Oystercatcher Management Strategy told secretary of the Southern Beaches Users Club, Denis Magnay, that they would recommend that proposals to restrict access to beaches from South Ballina to Black Rocks be dropped from the plan.
"They're going to recommend to the interagency committee on April 7 that major revisions be made to the draft plan," Mr Magnay said.
The authors have agreed to drop the proposal to ban vehicles from the beach two hours each side of high tide, and agreed to a licensing system with an unrestricted number of permits.
About 2500 people signed petitions opposing the draft.
But university researcher, Annette Harrison, PhD candidate from the University of New England's National Marine Science Centre at Coffs Harbour, described the backdown as a 'win for the yobbos'.
She has been studying the pied oystercatcher.
"Denis Magnay and his mates may be celebrating, but the local pied oystercatchers will soon face their end if no 4WD restrictions are enforced on South Ballina Beach," she said.
"And, to be honest, I am quite disappointed that the Department of Lands has buckled under the pressure put on them."
The strategy still needs approval from the State Government, as well as Ballina Shire and Richmond Valley councils.