A reminder from MidCoast Council that beach vehicle access permits for the 2019-20 financial year were due came with price hike.
The standard permit annual (July-June) pass has increased from $60 to $100, while the shorter 30-day pass was now $60.
MidCoast Council community spaces, recreation and trades manager, Dal Aldridge explained higher fees would assist council manage increasing costs associated with staffing, visitor management and education programs, fencing, signage, compliance and beach access.
"Ultimately MidCoast Council is committed to ensuring the coast is a safe place for all users," Mr Aldridge said.
"Our much-loved coastline is a sensitive and fragile environment and we try and manage it so that all users are supported," he said.
"With increased use, comes increased management and unfortunately some users don't always adhere to the strict and necessary rules and regulations we have in place."
Mr Aldridge said improved access to to Nine Mile Beach was a top priority and would be funded through the additional revenue.
But Tuncurry user, Angus Fraser was not happy with council's decision to increase rates.
"If I could see where my $100 was going to be spent I wouldn't mind," Mr Fraser said.
"But, for the last nine years I've had a beach permit I haven't seen anything change to do with driving on the beach or that hasn't been a waste of time and money," he said.
"I just think $40 in one year is a little over the top.
"What's next year's going be $150?"
Mr Aldridge said council also planned to improve the administration of the permit system.
Permits provided access to some of the region's most pristine beaches, stretching from Kylies Beach in the north, down to Hawks Nest in the south.
But, council also wanted to remind 4WD drivers the beach and surrounds were both sensitive and dynamic, and holding a permit came with a responsibility to protect both the environment and other beach users.
"It's important that beach drivers are considerate of others, and respectful of their surroundings", spaces and services director, Paul De Szell said.
"There are rules that apply, not only for the safety of all beach users, but to help protect the dune environment."
Permit-holders were responsible for complying with beach driving rules which included driving between the high and low tide marks, using designated access points, observing a maximum speed limit of 40km/h (or 15km/h within 100m of others), and remaining at least 15 metres away from pedestrians.
Council rangers and NSW Police were authorised to enforce the rules, with fines and permit cancellation in place for those who did not comply.
More information and an outline of rules and responsibilities for beach drivers can be found on the MidCoast Council Driving on our Beaches webpage.
"Our message to all beach-goers is about sharing the shore responsibly, whether that's by adhering to beach driving rules, controlling dogs on our dog-friendly beaches, or taking your rubbish home with you, our beaches are natural assets we can be proud of and should work together to protect," Mr De Szell said.
Beach access vehicle permits can be purchased from all customer service locations and authorised re-sellers.
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