Thursday, May 18, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A group of Grasstree Beach residents have shared their concerns about activity occurring on state and council land surrounding the beachside community.
The man spearheading the campaign, who wished to remain anonymous, said the bushland behind and to the north of Hillside Drive stretching up towards Salonika Beach, including Mick Ready Beach, has become a “theme park” for people with motorbikes, four-wheel drives and offroad buggies.
“The area near Mick Ready Beach used to be fairly clear and people used to picnic all the time,” the concerned resident said.
“It was accepted practise … until the bikes moved in.”
The local relocated from the area in 2010 and, upon returning in 2021, discovered the issue had worsened, citing noise emanating from surrounding bushland, dangerous driving on the streets leading into the bushland, environmental damage, erosion, and litter as areas of concern.
The noise has reportedly been heard as early as 6:30am and late as 11:30pm, and vehicles have been seen speeding along Hillside Drive where vision over the hill is limited and families frequently walk.
The group of locals banded together and started a campaign, approaching police, Mackay Regional Council, Member for Mirani Stephen Andrew, and the Minister for Resources Scott Stewart.
“The problem here is the council owns the beach (Mick Ready Beach), but they don’t own the roads into it,” the resident said.
“That area is ‘unallocated state land’ and managed by the Department of Resources.
“It would seem that creates problems and limits what the police can and can’t do.
“Everyone’s pointing at everyone else.”
The resident reported that the Department of Resources installed steel gates to prevent unauthorised access, which have since been torn down.
He also claimed that local police have increased their presence in the town, but “could be a little bit more enthusiastic” in enforcing groups to move on.
A response from the office of Minister for Resources Scott Stewart stated the Department of Resources “will continue to work with the Mackay Regional Council and other agencies to promote responsible use of open spaces in this locality.”
The letter continued: “In 2023, Resources will also continue its work with other agencies to limit uncontrolled vehicle access to parts of the land where it is practical to do so, which may include a staged approach to re-installing gates or changing access arrangements to the land.”
The group of residents is calling for access to the area to be restricted.
Mick Ready Beach, north of Grasstree Beach, has become a popular spot for four-wheel drives, motorbikes and offroad buggies. Image supplied
Dirt roads through state land leading to the beach are clearly signed. Photo credit: Sam Gillespie