South Ballina Beach will be closed to vehicle access from 31 March, 2021 due to ongoing concerns about public safety and impacts to the environment and Aboriginal heritage values.
The closure follows consultations between Ballina Shire Council; Richmond Valley Council; the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands; the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS); NSW Police; Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council; and Bandjalang Aboriginal Corporation.
Secured vehicle access points using lock and key will be maintained for emergency services, commercial fishers and Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council and Bandjalang Aboriginal Corporation at Richmond River Nature Reserve (NPWS), Patchs Beach (Ballina Shire Council) and Boundary Creek (Richmond Valley Shire Council).
Pedestrian access to the beach will remain unrestricted.
The closure of South Ballina Beach to vehicles follows ongoing concerns about dangers to other beachgoers, including families and the elderly, from large numbers of four-wheel drives on the beach and instances of reckless driving.
Also, there have been ongoing environmental concerns about the impacts of four-wheel drives on the marine environment, endangered shorebird nesting sites, dune erosion and vegetation damage, and cultural impacts to significant Aboriginal sites including middens and traditional burial grounds.
Recreational four-wheel driving below the high tide mark will still be allowed on regulated beaches north of the Richmond River at Ballina. Four-wheel drives can access Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head via Camp Drewe Road where Ballina Shire Council operates a permit system.
Recreational four-wheel drivers can also access a 4.6 km stretch of Air Force Beach below the high tide mark north to the coffee rocks which is monitored by Richmond Valley Council.