During this peak beach season, MidCoast Council would like to remind locals and holiday makers that a 2018/19 Beach Vehicle Access Permit is required to drive on the beach.
The MidCoast region includes more than 190 kilometres of pristine coastline and four wheel driving enthusiasts have always been attracted to the area.
“Some of our beaches offer a great opportunity for four wheel drivers to get off the beaten track, and so long as people do the right thing by following a few simple rules, we welcome locals and visitors to take advantage of our stunning coastline,” council director Community Spaces and Services, Paul De Szell said.
Obtaining a beach vehicle permit not only gives entry to a range of beautiful, less crowded beaches across the region, but it also comes with a responsibility to comply with beach rules which are enforced by council rangers and NSW Police.
“Part of your responsibility as a permit holder is to help us protect our local flora and fauna by sharing the shore,” Paul explained.
“Our beaches are home to a number of endangered shorebird species like the Little Tern, and while we aim to fence off and place signage around nesting sites, vehicles can inadvertently destroy hidden nests, their eggs and baby chicks.”
It is important to know which beaches and access points can be used and to keep an eye out for any beach closures.
All permit fees contribute to maintaining beach access points, dune rehabilitation and weed control.
The maximum beach speed limit on the beach is 40km/h, with pedestrians always having right of way, and vehicles must stay at least 15 metres away from pedestrians.
Vehicles must also drive between the tide marks, which means remaining below the high tide mark and above the low tide mark.
Annual permits are valid from July 1 through to June 30 and must be clearly displayed on the bottom passenger side of a vehicle’s windscreen.
For short-stay visitors and locals who require a short-term permit, a 30-day permit is available across the entire region.
For more information on where to purchase a permit, maps showing beach access points, guidelines for driving on beaches, and the rules that apply, visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/beachpermit
Please be advised that National Parks and Wildlife passes do not allow you to drive on beaches, a beach permit still needs to be purchased.
These rules also apply to anyone wanting to drive on the beach to get a good vantage point for Harrington’s New Year’s Day fireworks.
Unfortunately in the past, there have been issues with Little Tern nesting areas being disturbed from illegal fireworks being set off and landing inside the fenced areas, dogs being able to run loose in prohibited areas, fences being broken, people going into fenced areas to get a better view of the fireworks, as well as alcohol related problems.
As a result of the damage that has been caused in previous years, National Parks and Wildlife Service’s Shorebird Warden, Kath Howard will be parked on the beach before and during the fireworks display to talk to people and monitor the birds.
There will also be MidCoast Council rangers on the Harrington sand spit including one at the break wall and one near the fenced area, to liaise with police about illegal fireworks near the fences.
The John Gollan Day fireworks at Harrington on New Year’s Day are always a fantastic, family friendly event but Council is urging people to act responsibly, keep dogs on a leash and keep our endangered shorebirds in mind.
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