Dear Mr Brennan
I have noticed flagging tape through the Cowley dune last weekend south of the boat ramp, presumably marking the proposed new road route? I understand all permits have not yet been obtained to undertake the works and would like to ask why the work to date was ever performed, given that there is presumably a possibility that permits might not be granted to allow the work to continue?
Can you please advise me if an EIS is being performed on the route as this is a particularly sensitive area and the impact on biodiversity in such a narrow corridor needs to be considered. The track will have a direct impact but will the EIS also take into consideration the increased number of people that will be in this area once it is constructed. I recall a management plan was also needed and am wondering whether this is a public document. If so can you please provide me a copy. I have unsuccessfully tried to contact the coastal facilitator about the beach several times, but have not had emails or phonecalls returned to date hence my email to you. I would hope that the Council will consider closing the track at sensitive ecological periods such as when the little terns roost and turtles are nesting. This will be an easy matter now that the expensive gate is in place.
I would like to make it clear to you that as far as I am concerned the track can only be justified if there is then going to be a rigorous enforcement of having no vehicles on the beach. If all this money that has been spent on installing the track and the destruction that has been done to vegetation to make a vehicle track is effectively wasted, while 4 wheelers continue to drive on the beach and dune, then this would be almost a criminal waste of ratepayers money. Sel Sultmann, DERM's Coastal dune expert made it clear in his report prepared after Cyclone Larry that the dual vehicle access (vehicles on dunes and beach) was possibly the worst environmental outcome. I hope that your actions in establishing the vehicle track do not again lead to that result as thus far is the case. Currently the 4 wheelers seem to consider themselves to be exempt and able to drive everywhere. The photos below taken last Saturday (19 May) show the dreadful state of the beach as a result of our Council's environmental section opening up the beach access while permissions do not exist for the works in R1399 in front of the caravan park. Note that the 4 wheelers drive past the arrows sign and continue south along the foreshore and avoid driving where larger vehicles have driven because of the different wheelbase.
Will the CCRC remove all vehicles from the beach following the completion of the track through the reserve in front of the caravan park? The CCRC has control of all access points and surely can then start enforcing this? Your reply is requested in writing on this.
Finally I am extremely disappointed to see the CCRC inviting volunteers to a revegetation day on Sunday at Cowley Beach when Council will be shortly destroying more of our precious dune vegetation for the vehicle track.