A COMMUNITY group will be formed to monitor recreational all-terrain vehicle use at Wonga Beach and report issues to Douglas Shire Council under a new interim foreshore management plan.
Council has adopted an interim Wonga Beach Foreshore Management Plan, which allows Wonga Beach residents to use quad bikes in an environmentally-sensitive manner on sections of the 10.5km stretch of coastline.
Only residents of Wonga Beach can apply for approval under a permit system to be introduced by Council.
Strict conditions will apply, for example a ban on two-wheeled vehicles such as trail bikes and large four-wheel drive passenger vehicles, to ensure a balanced approach to managing the foreshore.
A southern 1.5km section of beach next to Wonga Community Park, south of Janbal St, will be an ATV-free zone.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the interim plan included clear requirements and conditions for approval.
“By working with the Wonga Beach community, Council will continually review the effectiveness of the management plan and make improvements when necessary,” he said.
“Consultation found a clear majority of residents enjoy the lifestyle that comes with being able to ride their ATVs along the Wonga Beach coastline, whether it is to find good fishing spots up towards the Daintree River, or just to take in the beautiful scenery on the weekend.
“The foreshore management plan provides a broad, transparent direction for Council staff to allow this activity and improve environmental protection by monitoring impacts to dunes and wildlife, while addressing any issues that arise over the next 12 months.”
The interim management plan will make clear all circumstances and requirements for approval. The plan will be reviewed after 12 months.
A Foreshore Management Plan for Wonga Beach will be developed for future adoption over the next 12 months and include community consultation.
Council’s Local Laws team will actively monitor the use of ATVs at Wonga Beach and work with the public to rectify any issues that may arise.
Please read the full Council report here.
Community Consultation Wrap-up
In 2018, Council conducted community consultation with Wonga Beach residents to determine support for the use of ATVs on the beach.
Consultation showed the following findings about the use of ATVs for recreational purposes:
- 69% supported
- 28% against
- 3% neutral.
How did we get here?
Following a community meeting at Wonga Beach State School in late 2015, Council received several enquiries from residents wanting to gain a permit.
In 2016, Council staff met onsite with a Senior Environmental Officer from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, whose feedback implied that he did not foresee any major environmental issues with ATVs using the hard sand to traverse Wonga Beach.
A draft policy was sent to the Department of Environment and Science on two separate occasions requesting feedback or objection. Council received no response and in 2018, proceeded with community consultation with Wonga Beach residents and the full report is available here.