Magnetic Island North Queensland
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November 15th 2007
Letter: 4WDs threaten turtles at West Point

A quiet sunset at West Point Following our message from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service a reader has written in to call for the same protection of turtle nests at West Point by Townsville City Council as is seen on the Strand and other more visible locations

The Editor,

That is good news and bad news about the turtles that lay their eggs on Magnetic Island and at West Point between 17th October and late January.

The Townsville City Council continues to allow people to drive their four wheel drive vehicles on the beach and over turtle nesting patches at West Point and Young Bay.
Not only are 4WDs a danger to the beach erosion and turtles; they are a danger to children playing on the beach.

Townsville City Council elected representatives have been contacted about this issue for many years. West Point continues to get put on the back burner in this regard.

We find it interesting that 4WDs are not allowed to drive on the beach at The Strand, Nelly Bay or other city/island beaches but nothing is seriously being done about bollarding off access to the Beaches at West Point and Young Bay where turtles lay their eggs.

Every week there are hundreds of tourists who visit iconic West Point for it's calm waters and beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately they and tourist operators have to travel over a poorly maintained track to West Point. This is not the way we want to promote Magnetic Island's to tourists. In fact one of the operators inadvertently parks their vehicle over an area on the beach ( most evenings) where the turtles have laid eggs in the past.

Isn't it about time that West Point Beaches got treated the same way that the Strand Beach and other Magnetic Island Beaches are protected especially from 4WDs. When turtles lay eggs on the Strand a big fuss is made over the welfare of the eggs. The West Point situation places turtle egg laying very much in the hypocritical basket when it comes to protecting a seriously endangered activity.

David Ede
Concerned West Point Property Owner ( paying incredibly high rates) and local Coast Care Volunteer.

Letter: 4WDs threaten turtles at West Point
November 15th 2007
If you have a 4WD and you want to drive it on the beach at West Point and Young Bay, what harm could it do if you park off the beach to allow the turtles a small bit of peace to nest unharmed.
Sea turtles are precious and should be treated so on all of the Island's beaches where they nest.
November 15th 2007
Just wondering David, where abouts do the turtles lay at Westpoint? I'd love to see them.

Maybe a suggestion, at Radical Bay they cordon off the areas where they see the nesting,this could also be done at Westpoint alerting the drivers at Westpoint to stay clear of that area.

Cordoning off alerts not only drivers but walkers,runners and fisherman.

Matthew Talbot
November 16th 2007
I totally agree with you David. This issue must be addressed urgently. It is completely unacceptable for people to put their own entertainment interests over the welfare of these endangered animals.

It is equally unacceptable for the Townsville City Council to do nothing about this problem, while charging local residents ridiculously high rates.
November 16th 2007
Keeping 4WDs off beaches is a constant hassle. Along the West Point track at various places (Cockle Bay, Ned Lee Creek, Bolger Bay, Retreat Creek, Young Bay etc) there are random tracks leading a small distance to a piece of beach, a salt pan or some other access, supposedly for fishing spots or "parking" (nudge, nudge). Mostly the tracks are less than a hundred metres or so, often across mangrove mud, harmless woodland or loose sand, usually risking getting bogged and inevitably causing destruction of some sort or other. All attempts by National Parks, the Council or local residents to block off these access tracks are thwarted by idiots who believe they have a divine right to drive their 4WD on a beach or any other 'off-road' place when and if they so desire. And when they get bogged they expect people to help them (catch the plane, feed the baby, restrain the pissed-off partner, hide from the moke hire people) because they are such important people who wouldn't ever damage the environment they have paid so much money to visit.
"Cordoning off" to protect West Point and the turtles might as well take place at Picnic Bay.
November 18th 2007
Heres what you should do to stop the drivers of any vehicle driving across the areas of beach where turtles are nesting: Cordon off the beach area, build a car park and then charge them top rates so you can employ a traffic warden. The alternative is unthinkable but to do nothing it becomes inevitable so its not such a crazy idea as you may think. Ask any turtle...if you see one.
Crusty Herron
November 19th 2007
And while we are on the subject of "idiots who believe they have a divine right to drive their 4WD (or 2WD) on a beach or any other 'off-road' place when and if they so desire" What are we to do about the eastern end of Horseshoe Bay? From Maggies to the creek mouth? Why block off one end of Pacific Drive to preserve wildlife and revegetate dunes and not the other?
Alex Andreassen
November 19th 2007
David, I agree 100% with your concern, I am a driver of one of the tour operators that does take visitors to enjoy the beautiful sunsets at West Point and I am disgusted to see a lot of the 4WD rentals drive all the way to the beach.
For our part, (the other 2 drivers and myself), who drive the long Tropicana Jeep, "DO" stay on the road, parking the car at the U-turn at the end of the road, right next to the fence that was erected to stop these idiots getting access to the beach.
And the same goes every time I see remains of fires that have been lit on the beach, like the old log by the casuarina tree next to where we park our vehicle.
The Townsville City Council has to get their act together and remember that the island is also within their jurisdiction and needs the same first class facilities as we see along the Strand and other places in Townsville. The island is in fact the main attraction and deserves better.
The same goes with Radical Bay where we have seen the same problems as West Point. 4WDs driving along the beach, bongfires, and even visitors camping (especially those coming to the island with their Wicked Vans or similar sort of vehicles). The rangers need to get to these places more often and the TCC needs to erect the appropiate signs in these bays, because there are none to tell visitor what can or can't do there.

Mary Regts
December 3rd 2007
The turtles deserve protection.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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