Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

A Reverse View on Parking

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

A Reverse View on Parking

Article excerpt

Byline: Campbell Gellie campbell.gellie@dailymercury.com.au

MACKAY Regional Council could back flip on a local law that has prevented people from parking on the beach at Shoal Point.

Four years ago, as more and more people were riding motorbikes and taking their cars down to the beach for fun, the council moved in on the issue of people parking on the sand.

And while locals were allowed to launch their boats off the beach they were suddenly being encouraged to drive back up to the esplanade to park their cars and trailers there.

They were damaging the coastal foreshore, the council said at the time.

But people from the Northern Beaches kicked up a stink at that; they had been parking their cars and trailers on the beach for generations.

They complained in the form of a 250-signature petition that expressed their dissatisfaction at not being consulted about the law that was introduced in 2011 and that the reasons for policing the local law "defied logic".

The petition, filed in February, forced a decision on the council; officers recommending the ban on beach parking continue. Meanwhile council staff had photographed people on the beach hooning around on motorbikes and setting up camps around their four-wheel drives.

And so in April, Cr Justin Englert with the backing of all councillors at the Community Engagement Standing Committee meeting, ordered the officers to get back to work including finding out how many people were actually parking at the beach.

A new report will be presented to council tomorrow and councillors will vote on the suggested change of approach.

In the report, officers recommend people be allowed to park their cars on the beach as long as it is for beach activities and increased patrols to catch people doing the wrong thing.

Investigations by the council found that the use of the beach depended on the weather conditions more than the time of the week. …

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