Geraldton councillors say yes to Point Moore 4WD access following erosion events

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Vehicle gates will be installed at three access tracks to Point Moore beach.
Camera IconVehicle gates will be installed at three access tracks to Point Moore beach. Credit: Zoe Keenan/The Geraldton Guardian

Point Moore beach will remain open to four-wheel-drive enthusiasts after the City of Greater Geraldton council voted to only close the popular spot when conditions aren’t suitable for vehicle access.

The council decision follows months of public consultation on the hot-button issue, with the majority of beach users against a 4WD ban.

A community survey of more than 700 people revealed less than 15 per cent wanted to permanently keep cars off the sand.

At Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting, councillors voted to install vehicle gates and signage at the Marine Terrace end of three access tracks.

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Councillors also directed the CEO to reopen a 150m section of beach at the northern end of Point Moore which was closed to vehicles in 2018.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said the City’s plan struck the right balance between environmental protection and beach access.

“Even when you close a beach and you close it to vehicles, whether we like it or not, whether we put 100 rangers down there, people will go through the dunes,” he said.

“There is grounds to at least try to control access when it is most evident the beach isn’t available.

“I appreciate it’s going to be a journey but we are getting some awareness.”

Point Moore beach will remain open to 4WD enthusiasts.
Camera IconPoint Moore beach will remain open to 4WD enthusiasts. Credit: Peter Sweeney/Midwest Times

The proposal was carried 9-1, with Cr Michael Librizzi voting against.

He said he was disappointed the City didn’t recommend closing the vehicle access track near Pages Beach.

“It contradicts our commitment to the environment,” he said,

“There is plenty of room at the other two accesses.

“I know we are stretched for resources but I don’t think I’ve seen a ranger down there at any time at all.”

The City will use a $76,000 Coastwest grant to install the vehicle access gates and undertake coastal erosion management.

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

The beach was temporarily closed to vehicles for community safety, but some 4WD users chose to ignore the ban and drove on to the sand.

Cr Kim Parker said more needed to be done to make sure 4WD users keep off the protected dunes of Point Moore.

“The fine is that minimal it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“If anyone is going to be serious about it all what we need to do is start fining people straight away and making the fine significant.”

Councillors Simon Keemink and Bob Hill didn’t attend the December 21 meeting.

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