Park fees put brakes on beach fun
THE Noosa North Shore town of Teewah has been without septic pumpout for two months and permit-paying motorists are struggling to get on and off the beach because of the degraded access point.
Inexperienced four-wheel-drive vehicle operators getting bogged in the metre-deep dry sand sink are causing lengthy delays for those who follow behind.
There is mounting anger that money collected by the State Government for beach permits is not finding its way back into improved facilities.
There are only two sets of toilets along the 70km beach - at Freshwater and on the northern side of Double Island Point - despite the Department of Environment and Resource Management taking camping fees from tens of thousands of campers each year.
Noosa River Ferries owner Cliff Andreassen said vehicle volumes had dropped 30% since the permits were introduced.
He said the permits were introduced on the premise of "user pays" but asked what motorists were actually paying for.
"There's no user pays at Southbank and the government pumps $100 million a year into that," Mr Andreassen said.
"The amount of shopping done in Tewantin on Fridays and Mondays by four-wheel-drivers camping up the beach is really important to the economy. They are driving that away."
Mr Andreassen said campers appeared willing to invest in portable toilets rather than burying waste in the sand. But he said the government had yet to invest any of the permit money in convenient, serviced dump points.
Septic tank operators said they would not risk taking their vehicles through the metre-deep sink of dry sand that has built up on the beach side of the third cutting because of continuing dry weather.
Cliff Davies, from Sutton's Cleaning Service, which services Teewah septic systems, said it had been eight weeks since they had been able to get a tanker to the town.
He said the second cutting used to be accessible most of the time but was now closed.
Teewah home owners who pay $3000 a year in rates are angry that no attempt has been made to maintain access.
Environment Minister Vicki Darling said her department had not received complaints about the lack of septic pumpout access.
She said access roads had been upgraded, camping grounds maintained, signs put up, and waste management facilities at Freshwater had been improved.