The announcement of funding to seal Seven Mile Beach Road to the Kings Beach carpark has met with mixed responses.
The grant application for funding was submitted in late 2019 but the success of the grant was announced in July this year.
While some residents have welcomed the reduction in dust and its impact on the Nature Reserve, others have concerns.
Issues around the number of cars using the road, cars parking in environmentally sensitive areas, and the danger to walkers and cyclists have been raised for many years.
Alison Drover, a resident in the area, says they have been meeting with Byron Shire Council for years to look at ways to resolve the issues.
‘Allocating any money prior to delivering a report, which is well overdue, pre-determines the outcome of these community consultations,’ Ms Drover told Echonetdaily.
‘The most pressing agenda is to find a way of restricting numbers to both Broken Head. Sealing the first section of Seven Mile to King’s Beach will effectively make the entrance look like a formal one and entice more vehicles.’
Responding to questions regarding the strategic traffic and tourism report a Byron Shire Council spokesperson said, ‘Staff are preparing a report which will presented at the Council meeting on 27 August, 2020.’
Plans to be drawn up
Former mayor Jan Barham, who also lives in the area, said that the sealing of the Kings Beach carpark has been on the books for a long time.
However, her concern lies around the lack of forethought and planning that has gone into the grant application for such an environmentally sensitive area.
‘The big issue is the impact on the Nature Reserve,’ she told Echonetdaily.
‘If you don’t do proper drainage in an area like this you will get runoff into the Nature Reserve. It appears that they haven’t even done the design for the work. My worry is that last time they wanted to take all the trees out on either side of the road where it is really narrow to get the machinery in.
‘This is a Nature Reserve and it has the highest level of protection in Australia because of its ecological significance and scientific status. Previously all grants would come to council before being applied to ensure these types of issues were planned for.’
The BDC spokesperson confirmed that, ‘Surveys and design for the sealing of 700m of Seven Mile Beach Road to Kings Beach carpark have not yet been completed. As is the case for all our projects, we will get all the necessary approvals to carry out the work.’