CQ Team Turtle volunteer Jodi Jones.
CQ Team Turtle volunteer Jodi Jones. Brenda Strong

Relief as council installs security cameras at popular beach

DELICATE ecosystems on Boyne Island's Lilley's Beach will be better protected following the Gladstone Regional Council's installation of new surveillance cameras.

Accessible only with council-approved vehicle permits, Lilley's Beach is home to sea turtles, dugongs and birds, and is used by the public as a popular weekend camping spot.

But for years a lack of monitoring within the area has been an issue, with visitors causing damage to the foreshore areas and dunes.

Friends of Conservation Group volunteer Ian Anderson said he was surprised to hear the news, but "really pleased" to hear cameras had been installed.

"The main issue is access of four wheel drives up onto the dunes which are a habitat not only for nesting turtles in season but also migratory birds," he said.

"(Surveillance cameras) will enable us to detect who's actually going up onto those dunes, but it's a minority - most people are very, very responsible.

"I think it's about educating people about the impacts of what they're doing going up there and once people do understand I hope that will be the deterrent, not the actual fines."

Under the Fisheries Act 1994, fines can be issued for the destruction or damage of seagrass meadows.

 

Popular camping and four-wheel driving spot Lilley's Beach.
Popular camping and four-wheel driving spot Lilley's Beach.

In June last year the council said it was open to investigating cost-efficient ways to protect the area after two large she-oaks protecting sand dunes were found chopped down near the campground.

Today Gladstone region acting mayor Chris Trevor said the cameras were installed in a bid to protect Lilley's Beach's ecosystem.

Gladstone Region Acting Mayor Chris Trevor said Lilley's Beach had a sensitive foreshore area as the tidal flats contain seagrass meadows.

"Seagrass meadows play a significant role for our marine wildlife, and if damaged, can take years to recover," Cr Trevor said.

CQ Team Turtle volunteer Jodi Jones said the cameras will help provide information on the number of people using the facilities.

"Lilley's Beach is a known turtle nesting beach and we have six known nests for flatback turtles," she said.

"It will give council and landholders the tools they need to educate and target those people who need to do the right thing.

"It's a positive thing, we nee to protect that habitat which is such a special place, and for the one in one hundred people who aren't doing the right thing we need to capture that."

Permits are required to be carried and displayed at all times and permit holders are required to stay under the high tide mark.

Vehicle access to dunal areas are strictly prohibited.

Permits can be purchased online at gladstone.qld.gov.au/onlineservices.

They can also be purchased in person at Calliope or Gladstone Administration Centres or the Boyne Tannum Community Centre.

Residents are reminded motorbikes are strictly prohibited.

If you observe any disturbance to the seagrass meadows or any marine plants, please contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.