South Ballina Beach. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
South Ballina Beach. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Call for cameras to catch beach hoons at South Ballina

ONE Ballina resident, sick of four-wheel-drive hoons, has called for cameras to be installed at South Ballina Beach, following Ballina Shire Council's lead at Seven Mile Beach.

And his call has been backed by a beach-users lobby group.

Tobin Saunders from East Ballina, who for a time lived on the southern side of the Richmond River, said for the past 15 years he had "witnessed the flagrant and illegal disregard of the no-vehicle access sanctuary zone at South Ballina Beach".

The no-go zone is at the Richmond River Nature Reserve near South Wall to the north of the beach-access point.

"These four-wheel drive motorists have degraded dunes, left rubbish and generally trashed this critical environment used by many bird species that have few other places to rest and breed," he said.

"The vehicle degradation negatively impacts on a healthy beach shore ecology for many small organisms and is a danger to human beach users.

"Not to act on this ongoing anti-social, illegal and destructive behaviour is a dereliction of our duties to save what little precious nature is left on the coast around Ballina Shire."

His call has been backed by the president of the Southern Beaches Users Club, Denis Magnay.

Mr Magnay has over the years been a strong advocate for maintaining beach access for four-wheel drive vehicles in Ballina Shire, but doesn't want to see motorists doing the wrong thing.

"They're spoiling it for the rest of us," he said.

"A lot of people get enjoyment from the beach," he said of the many who fish that stretch of water.

He, as president of the Northern Beaches Users Club, welcomed Ballina Shire Council's decision to place covert cameras along the northern part of Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head where four-wheel drives are allowed as long as the driver has a permit.

"That will be a good deterrent (against hooning)," Mr Magnay said.

Council made the decision following complaints about four-wheel drives vehicles speeding, driving too close to animals and people and driving up into the dunes where birds nest, including the pied oystercatcher which is classed as endangered in NSW.

Pied oystercatchers also nest on the beaches to the south of the Richmond River.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has jurisdiction over the beaches at South Ballina, and the organisation has been contacted for comment.