Call to ban 4WD permits ahead of holidays
THE State Government refuses to introduce a ban or cap on 4WD permits issued to Bribie Island beaches despite pressure from environmentalists.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) rangers and local police will ramp up their patrols over the summer holiday period as permits are expected to spike.
Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA) president Diane Oxenford last month put out a call to arms to ban all 4WD access.
"BIEPA is working towards banning the unrestricted and uncontrolled use of 4WD vehicles on our beaches for recreation and we will be needing your support,"
"These vehicles are compacting the intertidal zone (hard sand) and squishing all the little pipis, crabs, microorganisms (sterilising the once living beach ecosystem)."
But a DES spokeswoman said there were no plans introduce a ban or a cap on the number of permits issued per year or per week.
"Beach driving in the Bribie Island Recreation Area is one of the most popular recreational activities in the southeast, and there are currently no plans to ban the activity or place a cap on the number of permits issued," she said,
"Any changes to the future management of the Bribie Island Recreation Area would be guided by a management planning process following extensive community and stakeholder consultation.
"There are already restrictions in place to ensure drivers, beach users and the environment are protected. All vehicles are to stay on formed tracks or drive along the beach below the high tide line. They are prohibited on dune vegetation areas."
The number of weekly 4WD permits issued during the 2018-19 financial year was 14,908 and annual permits issued amounted to 11,615 - similar numbers to the previous year.
But the number of permits issued to Bribie Island residents has more than halved from 1501 to 722 during that time, according to DES.
A DES spokeswoman said 30 per cent of all permits were issued during the months of December (14 per cent) and January (16 per cent) last year. That trend was expected to continue.
"Bribie Island is one of the most intensively managed of Queensland's protected estates in terms of compliance," she said.
"For example, 30 penalty infringement notices (PINs) were issued in the Bribie Island Recreation Area over the 2019 Australia Day long weekend - 26 of these PINs related to drivers not having a valid vehicle access permit and four were for bringing a dog into a protected area."
It comes after a woman was charged with assault after she allegedly attacked two DES rangers after they confronted her while climbing on a historic World War Two site.