‘If we can’t catch you, we’ll be waiting’: 4WD hoons warned
Beach hoons are on notice to behave or the entire stretch of beach between Evans Head and Ballina could be closed to four-wheel drives.
In what has been described as a "compromise" that will put the fate of the beach in the community's hands, Richmond Valley Council has voted to close only one of its access points at this stage.
Ballina Shire Council closed the Patchs Beach access at South Ballina last year.
It's understood work is continuing to close other access points which are managed by National Parks and Wildlife Service and Crown Lands.
In the meantime, Richmond Valley Council will close Boundary Creek.
Mayor Robert Mustow said four-wheel drive hoons were becoming a problem and it wasn't fair to users who did the right thing.
He said closing the Boundary Creek access point would send a "strong message" the council was taking the matter seriously.
"The other good thing about it, is one way on and one way off," he said.
"Before, they were getting on at Airforce and getting off at Boundary Creek and doing whatever they wanted to do and there was no-one to stop them.
"Now, it'll be one way ‒ you'll get on there, you come off there.
"So if we can't catch you, we'll be waiting for you when you come back.
"I think a lot of the users who enjoy the beach and do the right thing, I think they need to start reporting (those people doing the wrong thing), even if it's a photo, and send it to the council.
"Because we all know if it keeps continuing, down the end of the road, it will be closed."
Cr Jill Lyons said she was keen for the council to investigate a permit system.
She said it would make it easier to monitor, and would not punish responsible users.
"We seem to be more content to bend to the need of the four-wheel drivers and to the dollars that they are possibly bringing in to our villages," she said.
"At the same time we allowing them to continue to negatively impact on our beaches … our efforts so far seem to have been limited in stopping the hoons and also the destruction of the coffee rocks.
"I find this entirely unacceptable."
The councillors voted to close the Boundary Creek access point and restrict driving on Airforce and Broadwater beaches to a point south of the coffee rocks.
A consistent speed limit of 20km/h will be introduced.