Wonga Beach is located north of Mossman with almost 1000 residents. For many years, people have accessed the beach in various vehicles for both recreational and commercial purposes and this activity has become more popular in the last few years. Council officers have tried to manage this issue across the Shire by way of enforcement actions and infrastructure, with mixed results depending on the location. Wonga Beach is over 10 kilometres long, which is a large stretch of coastline for Council officers to patrol and regulate.
Through a community consultation process in August 2018, the majority of those who responded indicated they supported the use of ATVs on the beach for recreational purposes. The Draft Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan sets out the approval process for this activity and provides actions for maintaining the environment in a sustainable way for future generations. It also identifies dog off-leash and on-leash areas and provides preliminary actions for dune protection and maintenance.
ATV Community Group
A Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan Community Group has been formed to assist with the management of any issues arising from the use of vehicles on the Beach.
A Draft Terms of Reference for the Community Group was discussed at a meeting attended by 45 residents in February 2021. The amended draft was distributed for comment and also presented at the first Community Group meeting held in September 2021. The Final Terms of Reference has been amended as per all feedback received and may be accessed here.
The current Terms of Reference states there should be at least six and up to twelve Wonga Beach residents, a Traditional Owner and two Council officers on the Community Group. When nominations were first called 16 people responded and although all 12 who were eligible have been invited to every meeting, just three residents have attended.
Council will put the call out for new members late February, early March 2023, with the aim of boosting membership to hear from a broader cross section of residents. In the interim, if you are interested in becoming a member of the Community Group please contact Gaye Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community consultation conducted in 2018 designed to ascertain the community’s attitude towards the use of quad bikes on the beach indicated strong support [69%] for the use of quad bikes for recreational purposes. However there were people who had concerns [28%] and the management plan is intended to address the four most common issues as follows:
Impacts on natural environment
- Vehicles restricted to hard packed sand only
- Designated beach access points; closure and revegetation of illegal/informal access points to minimise impact on frontal dune and disturbance to residents
- Education of permit holders about vegetation communities and ecosystems; coastal landforms including sandy embayments, estuaries, dune systems and near shore reefs and endangered species.
- Residents to encourage other vehicle users to comply with permit conditions
- Signs installed to make it very clear that drivers without a permit will be fined.
Liability to Ratepayers
- Requirement for permit holders to have done some form of recognised quad bike safety training.
Vehicles will impact quiet enjoyment of the beach by others.
- Two wheel vehicles requested by some not allowed as they are generally noisier
- No vehicles permitted from the Northern End of Marlin Drive south to Wonga Community Park (except those entering at Janbal Close and travelling north)
- Speed limit of 20km on beach adjacent to residential areas to reduce noise
- All vehicles must give way at all times to pedestrians and wildlife.