Ballina Council has been lobbying local land owners, who have land management jurisdiction on beaches between South Ballina and Evans Head, in an attempt to close off all vehicular access to their beaches.
This stretch of beach comes under a number of land owners, Crown Lands, Ballina Council, Richmond Council and NPWS and there is no physical demarcations between the beaches, advising which bodies have management responsibilities. The Ballina Council closed down vehicle access at Patches Beach last year, which they were able to do, as they owned the land.
The Ballina Council does not own or manage the northern access at South Ballina, it is owned by Crown Land, and the Council has no power to close it off. However, the council wrote to Crown Land last year, requesting they close off the northern access – this has not occurred yet, the decision is still in the hands of Crown Land.
While the council are blaming recreational motorists and their vehicles for bad behaviour on these beaches, they have made no attempt to discuss their concerns with representatives of these motoring groups, and have instead moved to close access to these beaches as their first course of action. There has been no communication by Ballina Council or Crown Lands about alternate courses of action to manage the land.
ARMA has spoken to Crown Land in order to voice our opinion and were asked to forward a written submission, which we have done, reiterating that we are willing to partake in any discussion groups or panels, in order to provide a better workable solution than closing al beach access. We have not heard anything back from them.
We accept there are some people in the recreational motoring community who are doing the wrong thing, and driving irresponsible along the beach, but our proposition to Crown Lands was not to close the beach, but to install a means of education and potentially controlling vehicle access, in order to enforce better beach properly and to identify offenders who do drive irresponsibly on the Ballina beaches.
In addition to our submission, local residents have prepared an Electronic Petition through the NSW Parliament, request vehicle access to the beach is not banned, but a permit system introduced. It is now available on the government website and closes for signature on 15th June 2021.
We are requesting you help in trying to keep this beach open. Please click on the link below and add your voice of concerned motoring enthusiasts, who want to maintain beach access.
NSW Parliament Electronic Petition:
ARMA Management Committee