“Save Our Beach” Survey Results
A survey of communities in areas surrounding Belmont Wetlands State Park has revealed strong opposition to both beach camping and unrestricted four wheel drive vehicles using the park. The survey differs from the Belmont Wetlands State Park survey, which was promoted heavily to 4WD users of the park, who may live elsewhere.
The local survey resulted in 575 responses and was conducted during February and early March 2022. It was promoted through letter box drops, social media and this website.
Highlights of the survey were
- No Beach Camping – 76% of respondents said that camping on the beachfront should not be permitted. Over 80% agreed that camping should only be permitted in designated areas with toilet facilities and that daily fees should be applied
- Restrictions on 4WD Access – If 4WD vehicles are permitted on the beach, respondents said that a daily fee should apply (84%), access should only be permitted in daylight hours (82%) and that a daily limit on vehicles should be applied (94%). However, 62% of respondents consider that 4wd vehicles should not be permitted on the beach at all, with some elements of local support presumably to allow access for fishing and surfing.
- Park Administration – More than 80% of respondents said that the administrator is not managing the park effectively for the community and that rules and regulations are not being enforced. 88% of respondents agree that rangers should be on hand 24/7 for supervision. 75% believe that National Parks and Wildlife Service would be the best administrator of the Park.
Concerning camping in the park, the results of the survey indicate that the majority of respondents agree with the terms of the current Plan of Management for Belmont Wetlands State Park which prohibits beach camping. In comments allowed in the survey, respondents indicated the reasons for prohibiting camping on beach areas include the amount of littering and rubbish generated, the lack of convenient toilet facilities and anti-social behaviour by some campers.
When the Plan of Management was written, 4WD access was envisaged to allow for fishing and surfing. Accordingly, 4WD vehicles were permitted under the current Plan of Management. However, the Park has been promoted in 4WD magazines and websites as a “4WD track” and as a beach camping area. In addition, 4WD vehicles are being driven in sensitive areas such as dunes. Strategies to reduce the impact of 4WD vehicles on the beach were envisaged under the Plan of Management, but these have either not been implemented or are ineffective in managing vehicle usage.
Respondents to the survey say that they believe that the current administrators have been negligent in their duty of care for the environment of the Wetlands, by permitting beach camping and in their management of 4WD vehicle usage. However, we have seen some improvement over the last six months or so.
Save Our Beach believe that, in line with the survey results, the review of the Plan of Management should limit 4WD access, and that beach camping should continue to be prohibited. In addition, Save Our Beach believe that a competent administrator needs to manage all aspects of the Park in accordance with the Plan of Management.
Save Our Beach believes that this community survey must be considered in the review of the Plan of Management. Results can be displayed in a slideshow by clicking on the thumbnails below.
The survey allowed for additional comments by respondents. The comments indicate the depth of emotions about the issues involved. There were over 300 comments submitted, here are some of them.
The unsupervised and poorly managed presence of 4×4 vehicles and the camping on the beach are causing huge destruction and are undoing hours of volunteer work to regenerate the dunes. It is no longer safe to use the BWSP and it is being destroyed by the way the current administrator is allowing its use. It does not meet the current management plan and for a sensitive coastal environment this way of management is threatening it very existence and future.
This beautiful beach is slowly but surely suffering irreparable damage due to the amount of 4WD vehicles/ camping/parties being allowed to continue on the beach unsupervised 24/7.
In some cases, there has been total disregard & disrespect used by certain parties coming onto the beach with their 4WD’s/caravans.
Please bring this under control & allow the regeneration of the beach to begin again.
This beach needs to be saved for the future generations to all enjoy.
I have watched the deterioration of the beach, dunes and wetland environment as 4WD access, numbers, behaviour and pollution go unabated. Very poor management to date. We need a circuit breaker and we need to save our beach,dunes and wetland – and all the special flora and fauna – before it is too late and we are ‘rehabilitating’ in a serious way. Please let’s have some management that understands sustainability and is dedicated to preserving this wonderful ‘natural’ community asset versus short-term gains via permit sales of a destructive activity.
I used to enjoy driving onto Redhead beach with a couple of mates and going for an uncrowded surf. But that was about 25 years ago, it looks terrible when you look down there now and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near it. It would be great if it was limited to something like 20 cars at a time.
Could have a system where you book in on the website and it would give you a code for the gate, like at a caravan park and it only gives out 20 codes per day or 40 in morning and afternoon sessions?
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
People disobey rules. Enforce rules by providing ranger for longer hours especially on weekends or keep vehicles off the beach. The abuse is very concerning and often disgusting Thankyou.