Letter: dangerous driving on Dunbogan Beach

Sue Baker said in a heavy storm it is possible that the section of dunes on the beach side of this track and the track itself could be washed away.

Sue Baker said in a heavy storm it is possible that the section of dunes on the beach side of this track and the track itself could be washed away.

Last week’s article regarding dangerous driving on Dunbogan Beach is nothing new, but something as a regular user of the beach over the past 20 years that I frequently witness: underage drivers, vehicles without permits, children riding unrestrained on the backs of utes and even standing on running boards clinging to roofs, fast speeds etc. While I know that NPWS regularly issues fines at the National Park end, I have yet to see a Council Ranger policing the beach.

Some years ago an NPWS ranger stated in a letter to the Courier, imploring drivers to use the beach safely, that the mix of people and vehicles at the Diamond Head end of the beach is a disaster waiting to happen.

Driving is prohibited on the section of the beach north from Timbarra which includes part of Kattang Nature Reserve, yet drivers continue to drive on it as seen in the last holiday period when locals hailed down and turned around many vehicles. Vehicles often park on and drive over the dune vegetation, not understanding the damage this can cause. Dunes are highly fragile environments subject to the full on force of erosion from waves and storms. That is why protection of their vegetation is so important.

Last week residents took a council officer to view the latest damage where the 4WD entry point onto the beach south of Timbarra had collapsed. Not only had a new entry point had been created but also a lengthy track as shown in the photo.

The original entry point will be repaired as soon as possible. As the person who raised tens of thousands of dollars in grant funds and coordinated the effort by council, NPWS and volunteers to eradicate bitou bush and restore a healthy native vegetation cover that is essential to the protection of the beach, it is deeply disappointing to see such damage. It would be wonderful if drivers could be more responsible.

Sue Baker, Dunbogan