By Trish Bowman
Nighttime hooning on the beach should be a thing of the past with the announcement this week that the Livingstone Shire Council will close access to Bangalee Beach and Sandy Point at night for all vehicles.
Livingstone Shire Council Deputy Mayor Cr Adam Belot said as part of an approved trial, Farnborough beach will be closed to motorists from 8pm to 4am, seven days a week, for three months at from a date yet to be determined.
“We have followed the recommendations of the Bangalee Reference Group to close access to the beach to vehicles at night to reduce the impact of hooning on the community and to protect the environment,” said Cr Belot.
“The temporary road closure supports the community and Council’s desire to protect the coastal environment while mitigating undue impact on residents by hoons.
“The dune system and turtle nesting sites along the coastline are under constant threat from hoons, especially at night.
“The nighttime closure will not affect pedestrians wishing to access the beach at night for recreational purposes.”
At Tuesday’s general meeting, councilors at Livingstone Shire unanimously approved the essay proposed by the Bangalee Beach Access Reference Group.
Cr Belot said it is the responsibility of all levels of government to try to ultimately make things better for the people they serve and that is what this Council is trying to do in relation to a complex issue and persistent for more than 30 years.
“The reference group met and provided key information that we need to consider as a council to improve something,” he said.
“I would like to thank the Bangalee community and the reference group for working closely with the council to find solutions to these challenges surrounding beach access.
“It’s a short-term fix, but it’s one we desperately need and it makes sense to reduce the ability to drive on the beach at night and I hope the community understands why we’re doing it.
“The council recognizes the incredible experience that comes with being able to drive along Farnborough Beach and is not in the business of taking things away from people or preventing people from enjoying this activity, however, we recognize that with the increase in population and number of vehicles enjoying this experience, it is essential that we plan to mitigate the impacts on both the Bangalee community who live next to the ramp and on the environment.
Council officers will now finalize the logistics to implement the trial and the community will be notified when a start date is confirmed.
Residents will have the opportunity to give their opinion through a survey after the trial.
The council will erect signs at vehicle beach accesses and use night vision cameras for enforcement with warnings to be issued to motorists in the first month of the trial before imposing a $575 fine in the second. and third month to those who disobey the road closure.
Cr Belot said the council is still considering options for alternative vehicle north access for a new ramp.
Under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, Queensland Police and Council have the power to temporarily close roads and issue offense notices for violates road closure signs.