Some locals are unimpressed with Byron Shire Council’s recently erected no-parking signs from Whites Beach to Seven Mile Beach in Broken Head.
Surfer Joey Mason told The Echo, ‘Many locals and I are very angry about this as it’s one of the last places of solace away from the encroaching tourist crowds and now we can’t park there even for a surf.’
And while large rocks have also been placed around parking areas, someone has taken to the signs with spray paint so many are now unrecognisable.
Mason told The Echo he rang the council to find out more. ‘The person who seemed to be head of traffic and parking didn’t even know where Seven Mile Beach was.’
‘They had no clue about the rocks being moved, the signs being installed or anything about the whole back beaches of Broken Head. If they are the head of the department and have no clue about what’s going on, what does that say about decisions being made and implemented?’
‘The only reason I could see council doing this is to stop campers. So why didn’t they put “no camping allowed”, but day parking allowed 5am from till 10pm’?
‘Or allow locals with council stickers or National Parks stickers to park there?
‘But shutting everybody out, including fishermen and surfers who use the beach all the time, is taking a pretty aggressive stance. It appears implemented without any community consultation.’
The Echo did not receive a reply by deadline from staff or Cr Basil Cameron, who is on the council’s Local Traffic Committee.
But minutes from a Traffic Committee meeting from September 19 say that, ‘Residents have requested that a shared zone be implemented over the full length of Seven Mile Beach Road.’ A Shared Zone is a ‘road or network of roads where the road space is shared safely by vehicles and pedestrians.’
While the committee did not support a shared zone, they made the following comments in the minutes: ‘Because of the concerns about the speed of vehicles, council [will] investigate existing and other potential signage and traffic-calming devices and delineation. Management… will undertake the investigation works once a budget source has been identified and approved.’
It follows what council says are ‘ongoing complaints and requests from local residents’, where key issues raised include: ‘illegal camping, campfires (potential for bushfires), parking, speed of vehicles access for emergency services, environmental damage to the nature reserve, dead wildlife, antisocial and inappropriate behaviour, graffiti, defecation in the reserve and on the roadside and vandalism to public property.’