Mayor David Wright and Councillor Eoin Johnston meet residents at Patchs Beach to discuss the implementation of a 4WD permit system.
Mayor David Wright and Councillor Eoin Johnston meet residents at Patchs Beach to discuss the implementation of a 4WD permit system.

Council backs permit system for 4WDs on beaches

BALLINA Shire Councillors unanimously backed a motion that could see a permit system implemented for four-wheel-drives on South Ballina Beach and Patchs Beach at the March meeting on Thursday.

Council will work with governing bodies to establish a permit system, allowing them to pay a ranger to patrol the area.

The ranger would likely work four-day weeks, on a roster that would see them work on different days each week.

Council will need to work with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Crown Lands and Richmond Valley Council to create the permit system.

At the council meeting, Cr Eoin Johnston who has been advocating for order on these beaches said local beachgoers are restless for stricter rules to be implemented.

"I don't care how it gets done but it needs to get done soon," Cr Johnston said.

Mayor David Wright said residents were "angry" because there are videos of people in 4WDs doing the wrong thing on the beaches, and these videos show their number plates but there have apparently been no repercussions for these drivers.

Councillor Phil Meehan backed the motion, and said he had experienced the dangers of such recklessness first hand.

"I was absolutely floored by the number of 4WDs on the beach and the potential danger to people using the beach and fishing," Cr Meehan said.

"There were people going past at irresponsible speeds and back up on the edge of the dune system. It was out of control, an accident waiting to happen."

Council will also call for submissions from key community groups on the matter.


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