City recommends installing vehicle access gates at Point Moore ahead of council vote

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Some points of the beach get to the point where they aren’t wide enough for a car to pass through at high tide.
Camera IconSome points of the beach get to the point where they aren’t wide enough for a car to pass through at high tide. Credit: Edward Scown/Geraldton Guardian

The vast majority of Geraldton residents are against closing Point Moore to four-wheel-drives, with a community survey revealing less than 15 per cent want vehicles banned from the beach.

More than 700 people made submissions to the City of Greater Geraldton after the council voted to gauge community sentiment on dune protection and how people used the area.

Winter storms and high swells eroded big sections of the Point Moore coastline in July and August.

The beach was temporary closed to vehicles for community safety, but some four-wheel-drive users chose to ignore the ban and drove on to the sand.

It led former councillor Sally Elphick to introduce an item proposing to ban vehicle access for 18 months to allow the dune system to recover.

That proposal did not get up, with the council instead opting to seek community feedback before making a decision on any potential prohibition.

A Suzuki four-wheel-drive takes a tumble at Point Moore beach.
Camera IconA Suzuki four-wheel-drive takes a tumble at Point Moore beach. Credit: Supplied

About 70 residents attended an information session at Bob Davies Park in September, with the City presenting historical images of Point Moore from 1979 to the present day.

More than 95 per cent of people who responded to the survey said dune protection was important, but closing the beach permanently to four-wheel-drives was not widely supported.

However, most supported closing the beach periodically in response to major events like storms.

About 28 per cent said vehicle management needed to be improved, while 14 per cent wanted a permanent ban.

The City’s executive team is recommending councillors vote to install vehicle gates at three access tracks when the item is brought up at next week’s ordinary council meeting.

The City is also recommending to reopen 150m of the beach closed to vehicles in 2018, as well as install sand trap fencing in dune areas near the Point Moore Lighthouse.

“Implementation of the officer’s recommendation will enable the City to restrict vehicle access to the beaches at Point Moore when the beach conditions are unsuitable for vehicle access,” the City report said.

Councillors did not ask any questions about the future of Point Moore during Tuesday night’s agenda forum.

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