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Council reveals ATV Use Strategy for Wonga Beach

Douglas Shire Council have released the Interim Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan in preparation for Tuesday's Ordinary Council meeting. On Tuesday's meeting agenda is the recommendation "That Council adopt the Interim Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan" and, in doing so, endorse the actions contained therein to balance recreation activity with environmental sustainability at Wonga Beach.

DOUGLASNEWS.NETWORK


Douglas Shire Council have released the Interim Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan in preparation for Tuesday’s Ordinary Council meeting. On Tuesday’s meeting agenda is the recommendation “That Council adopt the Interim Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan” and, in doing so, endorse the actions contained therein to balance recreation activity with environmental sustainability at Wonga Beach.


Summary

Through a community consultation process in August 2018, a clear majority of residents at Wonga Beach indicated they supported the use of ATVs on the beach for recreational purposes.The Interim Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan:

  • defines the approval process for the activity,
  • provides actions for maintaining the environment in a sustainable way for future generations,
  • identifies the new dog off-leash area, and
  • provides preliminary actions for dune protection and maintenance.

Council advises that the interim management plan is not intended to be exhaustive. Moving forward, it is envisaged that a more detailed and robust plan will be formulated.

The interim management plan aims to address some of the concerns outlined in the community engagement process and seeks to provide a balanced approach to the issue. It makes clear all circumstances and requirements for approval.


Key Elements


Animal management

  • The area from Giblin Street north to Vixies Road is a dog off leash area
  • All other areas of Wonga Beach are required to have dogs kept in an appropriate enclosure and on a leash when in a public place
  • No animals are prohibited in the Wonga Beach foreshore area, including horses
New on-leash and off-leash areas for dogs are defined for the precincts of Wonga Beach

Pinnacle Village to Daintree River

  • Dog on-leash area
  • No access points for ATVs via Council controlled land
  • ATV use is permitted by approval only
  • ATV use is strictly prohibited on or near the riparian zones, vegetated areas and dune areas
  • ATV use is permitted only on hard packed sand within the tidal zone

North of Giblin Street to Pinnacle Village

  • This is a dog off-leash area
  • No access points for ATVs via Council controlled land excepting access for guests of Pinnacle Village Caravan Park
  • 4WD access only for guests of Pinnacle Village for launching and retrieving a boat
  • ATV use is permitted by approval only
  • ATV use is strictly prohibited on or near the riparian zones, vegetated and dune areas
  • ATV use is permitted only on hard packed sand within the tidal zone

Old Wonga (Giblin Street south to northern end Marlin Drive)

  • This is a dog on-leash area
  • Audit all existing access points fo to foreshore
  • ATV use is permitted by approval only
  • ATV use is permitted only on hard packed sand within the tidal zone
  • Formalise all vehicle/pedestrian and ATV access points and sign post entrance conditions for ATV use
  • Limit ATV use in this area to residents of New Wonga, for the purpose of accessing the main ATV recreation area north of the Giblin Street access point
  • ATV use to be speed limited to 20km per hour
  • Close and revegetate all illegal/not formalised access points
  • ATV use is strictly prohibited on or near the riparian zones, vegetated and dune areas
  • Actively monitor and enforce no creation of new access points to foreshore
  • Audit undertaken during nesting season for any turtle nests
  • Giblin Street access closed to 4WDs
  • ATV access via Giblin Street permitted. This is to minimise the impact on the frontal dune and disturbance to residents
  • Install a key controlled barrier at the southern end of the Council Caravan Park (Wonga Beach Road) to allow vehicle access for boat launching

New Wonga (northern End of Marlin Drive south to Wonga Community Park – Includes Lot 65 CP903509)

  • Dog on-leash area
  • Audit all existing access points to foreshore
  • Formalise all vehicle/pedestrian and ATV access points and sign post entrance conditions for ATV use
  • Close and revegetate all illegal/not formalised access points
  • No 4WD use permitted
  • ATV use is permitted by approval only
  • ATV use is strictly prohibited on or near the riparian zones, vegetated and dune areas
  • Strictly no ATV use on the area south of the Janbal Street access point
  • Limit ATV use in this area to residents of New Wonga, for the purpose of accessing the main ATV recreation area north of the Giblin Street access point
  • ATV use to be speed limited to 20km per hour
  • ATV use is permitted only on hard packed sand within the tidal zone
  • Actively monitor and enforce no creation of new access points to foreshore
  • Audit undertaken during nesting season to identify the number and location of turtle nests
  • ATV access via one (1) designated shared zone in Janbal Street
  • Install a key controlled barrier to restrict access to Lot 65. This includes access to the rear of properties on Marlin Drive. This is to minimise the impact on the frontal dune, vegetation and disturbance to residents
  • Close and revegetate all illegal/not formalised access points
On the basis of the submissions received, looking at the individuals represented, 69% supported the use of ATV’s on the beach for recreational purposes, 28% were against it and 3% were neutral (Douglas Shire Council)

Conditions for use of ATV at Wonga Beach

Additional to Subordinate Local Law No. 1, Schedule 26:

  • ATVs are not to be driven above the high tide mark, except when travelling to and from the beach
  • Under no circumstances, including at high tide, are ATVss to be driven on or over frontal dunes or foreshore areas not designated as access points
  • ATVs will be restricted to travelling on the beach between the hours of 8am and 6:30pm
  • ATVs must not be driven by persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs
  • The QLD Police Service will be notified where an authorised officer reasonably believes this is occurring
  • ATVs are to be driven only in the area specified on the approval
  • The maximum speed limit on the beach area adjacent to Marlin Drive and the Esplanade will be 20kph. In all other areas north of the Giblin Street access point the maximum speed limit will be 40kph.
  • Hooning, fishtailing and racing of ATV’s is not permitted
  • Only the ATV nominated on the approval is to be driven on the beach
  • ATVs must give way at all times to pedestrians and wildlife
  • ATVs must be kept in a good state of repair or an approval will be revoked
  • Approval holders will be issued an approval identification sticker, or similar, which must be visible on the ATV at all times.
  • Approval holders must only access the beach at the designated access points
  • ATVs that cannot be registered and legally driven on a road must be pushed or transported by utility or trailer to the designated access point
  • Approvals will be revoked and enforcement action taken by Council officers and QLD Police, if users are found in breach of this condition
  • Approval holders operating ATVs must wear an approved motorbike helmet and not carry a passenger unless on a seat designated for that purpose
  • As per QLD State law, passengers on a vehicle approved for passengers, must be at least 8 years of age
  • Approval holders must at all times carry their drivers licence when conducting the activity and provide to an authorised officer, on request
A number of Wonga Beach residents have been using ATVs on the beach for many years
and consider the activity to be a part of their beach way of life and what makes the area special.

Obtaining an Approval

Application for an approval must be made on the approved form, and be accompanied by payment of the required fee. Application for an approval will only be accepted in person and each applicant may only apply for a permit for himself/herself, unless they are the parent/legal guardian of a minor child.


Criteria for assessing an application, may include, but not be limited to:

  • Limited recreational ATV use will only be permitted at Wonga Beach
  • Access points will be at the Giblin Street and Janbal Street entrances to the beach
  • A committee of users will be formed to manage any issues with the use of ATV’s on the beach, which may include membership from Douglas Shire Council, Mossman Police and any other parties deemed appropriate by the Council
  • Only residents of Wonga Beach will be eligible for an approval
  • Proof must be provided by producing a provisional or full driver’s licence with the applicants’ current residential address clearly visible
  • Only the ATV nominated on the approval is to be driven on the beach
  • Two (2) wheeled vehicles such as trail bikes and large four wheel drive passenger vehicles, will not be considered for approval
  • Applicants must have, and be able to prove, that they have undertaken some form of recognised ATV safety training
  • Parents or legal guardians of minor children, 11 years or older, may apply for a permit on behalf of the minor child
  • Conditional registration may be sought by suitable applicants from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, with the support of Douglas Shire Council and Mossman Police, to enable the ATV to be driven on a road, to a designated access point
  • Only applicants with a current QLD drivers licence will be supported in their application for Conditional Registration

Approval for minor children 11 years or older

  • Parents or legal guardians of minor children 11 years or older may apply for an approval on behalf of the minor child
  • Parents or legal guardians must supervise the minor child at all times when the ATV is being used, including between home and the beach
  • Parents or legal guardians will be responsible for the conduct and behaviour of the minor child at all times
  • The parent or legal guardian will become legally liable and responsible for any enforcement action taken by Douglas Shire Council with respect to any breaches of the approval
  • Enforcement action may include the issue of a Penalty Infringement Notice (fine)
  • ATVs must be the appropriate size for the user and must not be an ATV designed to be operated by an adult
  • No passengers will be permitted


The Ordinary Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, 27 October 2020, at 10am. The full agenda and minutes can be downloaded at Douglas Shire Council’s website as they become available. The meeting will be live-streamed online and an audio of the meeting will be available on the Council website at the time the minutes are made available.

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