Coast beach access fight gets tough
A COUNCILLOR pushing to find a solution to vehicle access issues at Farnborough Beach faces a race against time to progress official discussions on the matter.
Adam Belot first raised concerns at a Livingstone Shire Council meeting in early December, at which time councillors collectively decided to let the matter “lay on the table” while more information was sought.
Cr Belot at that time said that recent traffic counts had recorded as many as 800-plus vehicle movements in one day traversing the existing Bangalee access to Farnborough Beach, in close proximity to families and other beach users, which presented some safety concerns.
An alternate northern vehicle access to Farnborough Beach was flagged as a possible solution.
At the first major council meeting for the year on Tuesday, Cr Belot asked his colleagues when a previous motion he’d put forward on the issue could be dealt with.
Effectively via that motion, Cr Belot wants to see the issue go to public consultation.
“Is there some commitment that we could deal with that (motion) prior to the caretaker period?” Cr Belot asked with reference to the upcoming local government elections.
Legislation places limits during the caretaker period, before local government elections, on making major policy decisions.
This ensures that there are no significant policy decisions made near the end of a council term that bind future elected councils.
The caretaker period starts on the day when the Electoral Commission of Queensland publishes a public notice about holding the election (normally some time in February).
Cr Belot said there may only be one other council meeting before the authority goes into caretaker mode.
Mayor Bill Ludwig responded to Cr Belot’s question before seeking direction from acting CEO Brett Bacon.
“I think we laid it on the table because the only areas where we could have alternate access are all on private land and the majority was owned by Iwasaki Sangyo Company,” Cr Ludwig said.
Cr Ludwig said Livingstone had previously done work to identify a possible alternate access and prepare a design concept.
“But it required the support of the owner (of the land) and at that juncture of time that support wasn’t forthcoming and we also didn’t have a budget.”
On Tuesday the mayor further explained why finding an alternate northern access to the existing Bangalee one was not an easy thing to do.
“There’s no public road that takes us anywhere further north - it’s all owned by Iwasaki Sangyo Company.
“So I think it’s a little bit premature to have a (public) consultation until you’ve got an option (to take to the community).”
Cr Belot responded by saying those would be things councillors could debate when dealing with his motion, possibly at its meeting in a fortnight.
When asked if that could happen, Mr Bacon said: “I can’t see why not.”