Rubbish found at South Ballina over the weekend.
Rubbish found at South Ballina over the weekend.

Beaches, wildlife face 'desecration' by bad 4WD behaviour

POOR behaviour from some 4WD users have attracted the ire of Ballina Shire Council once again.

Councillor Sharon Cadwallader brought a motion before yesterday's general meeting to further consult on what could be done to address the issue of some 4WDers putting wildlife and the dunes at risk on South Ballina and Seven Mile Beaches.

Richard Gates, who spoke to the council in support of the motion, said bad 4WD behaviour was causing "significant damage to the beach and its ecology", evident in declining pied oystercatcher and pippie numbers.

Cr Cadwallader welcomed extra patrols plans for both beaches next financial year, but said that wasn't enough and suggested a permit system be added to the southern beach.

Councillors agreed the matter was complex in that the National Parks and Wildlife Service had care of South Ballina's beach, and that a co-ordinated approach would be needed with the Richmond Valley Council to cover the entire beach to Evans Head.

"There's got to be a concerted effort," Cr Cadwallader said.

"We're not just going to sit by and watch this beautiful beach of ours become desecrated."

She showed her fellow councillors photos, taken on the weekend, of the southern beach trashed with rubbish including dumped tents and camping chairs.

Other images showed the dunes at Seven Mile Beach riddled with tyre marks.

Cr Ben Smith said the State Government was "very much aware" of the dilemma and pointed out it "didn't really get much traction" in the lead up to the March state election, despite noise from the council.

"I think we're just going around in a loop here... and I don't know what the solution is, to be frank," Cr Smith said.

"The only way you're going to prevent that beach from being desecrated...is to close it off."

Strategic planning manager Matthew Wood the council wouldn't have the power to ban 4WD access to South Ballina Beach as it was not under their care.

Cr Keith Williams said it was vital to co-operate with Richmond Valley Council to find a solution.

Cr Phil Meehan asked for the motion to be amended to include people's safety among their concerns along with protecting the dunes and wildlife, and Cr Cadwallader accepted this.

The motion was carried unanimously.