Belongil Beach, Byron Bay.
Belongil Beach, Byron Bay.

Beaches among best in Australia

IT’S BEEN scientifically proven – we’ve got some of the best beaches in Australia.

In a new report released by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, 10 of the 14 beaches assessed in the Far North Coast Region were given the top rating.

Those beaches, which received the classification ‘very good’, were:

  • The Strand, Belongil Beach, Wategos Beach, Tallow Beach (Byron Bay) and Tallow Beach (Suffolk Park) in the Byron Shire Council area;
  • Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head) and Lighthouse Beach in the Ballina Shire Council area;
  • Airforce Beach, Main Beach and Shark Bay (all Evans Head) in Richmond Valley Council area.

According to the State of the Beaches report, these sites have ‘consistently good microbial water quality’ and ‘very few potential sources of faecal contamination’.

Beaches rated as ‘good’ included South Beach (Brunswick Heads), Main Beach and Clarkes Beach (Byron Bay) and Shelly Beach (Ballina).

Only two swimming spots were recorded as ‘fair’ – Torakina Beach at Brunswick Heads and The Serpentine at Ballina.

Simpsons Creek at Brunswick Heads received the region’s only ‘very poor’ rating.

Despite being a popular swimming, boating and fishing spot, the report says Simpsons Creek is ‘highly influenced by faecal pollution’ and that swimming should be avoided ‘at all times’.

But with the Brunswick Heads Sewerage Treatment Plant due to be decommissioned in the near fut-ure, it is expected that water quality in Simpsons Creek will improve.

Ballina MP Don Page said he was pleased with the overall results.

“We have some of the most popular beaches in the world in the Ballina electorate and it is pleasing to see they are as good for swimming as they are to look at,” he said.

“All residents and visitors have a role to play in continuing to keep the beaches clean and that means not littering, keeping gutters and drains free from compost or green waste, and cleaning up after pets.”

This was the first time that Byron Shire Council had been invo-lved in the Beachwatch program, and its 10 sites were monitored on a weekly basis from November to June.

Ballina Shire Council has been involved since 2002, and this year collected samples on a weeklybasis during the busiest summer swimming season – November to February.

Richmond Valley Council monitored its four locations on a weekly basis throughout the entire year.

REPORT CARD

VERY GOOD: The Strand, Belongil Beach, Wategos Beach and Tallow Beach at Byron Bay; Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head; Lighthouse Beach at Ballina; and Airforce Beach, Main Beach and Shark Bay, all at Evans Head.

GOOD: South Beach at Brunswick Heads; Main Beach and Clarkes Beach at Byron Bay and Shelly Beach at Ballina.

FAIR: Torakina Beach at Brunswick Heads and The Serpentine at Ballina.

VERY POOR: Simpsons Creek at Brunswick Heads.


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