2) How do you think Council can ensure our beaches are healthy and clean?

by Community Engagement Officer 1, about 3 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
Proposed actions to deliver this include:
  • Revise existing assessment method for quantifying volume of sand on beaches.
  • Prepare and annually update a Beach Health Report.
  • Identify sources of sand to nourish beaches and prepare a plan for accessing these reserves.
  • Benchmark reporting on the health of the city’s dunes.
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This consultation has concluded. Information about the consultation, forum comments and related documents are retained for your reference.

  • Mitchel over 7 years ago
    First of all I would like to commend Council Officers for their work on the Draft Ocean Beaches Strategy. Overall I think the strategy is very good and addresses a number of important issues. However, there is a massive hole in the strategy in relation to the delivery of clean and healthy beaches. In particular there are no actions to directly manage litter on our beaches and this is despite the fact that the introduction to Section 2 of the Strategy recognises the social and economic value of clean, litter free beaches, as stated bellow:

    ’The value of the natural environment is often underestimated and provides significant social and economic benefits in addition to beach ecological values. On the Gold Coast we are lucky to have naturally beautiful, white sandy beaches. The beach amenity is recognised nationally and internationally, attracting 11million day visitors annually (Source: Tourism Research Australia 2012). Maintaining clean and healthy beaches is important to visitors and is core to why residents choose to live here’.

    I know there is no quick fix or easy solution to the litter problem and already Council is taking a number of steps to try to keep the Gold Coast beaches litter free:
    # GCCC workers comb the beaches early every morning with the beach cleaning tractors.
    # There are a lot of easily accessible rubbish bins along the foreshore
    # Council has installed 'Keep Gold Coast Beaches Clean’ signs along major beaches and near lifeguard towers.

    Despite the above I still see rubbish along the beach everyday and frequently it reaches an unacceptable level. It is obvious that the abovementioned 'passive' rubbish prevention methods are not working adequately. I believe the best and only way to solve the problem is to start issuing people with on the spot fines for littering.

    However, in researching to write this comment I was surprised to learn that Council already has a Litter Enforcement Strategy - which gives Council officers the ability to issue warnings or on the spot fines (max $150) to people observed littering. This was certainly news to me as I have never seen or heard of anybody actually being fined for littering in the entire time that I have lived on the Coast (nearly 30 years)!

    If Council is serious about keeping our beaches (which attract thousands of international and domestic visitors each year) clean, then Council must get serious about enforcing the 'Litter Enforcement Strategy’.

    The obvious first step is to actually deploy some litter enforcement officers on our beaches (and foreshore) so people realise there is at least the potential to be fined for littering. The perceived risk of being fined can have a very powerful effect on peoples behaviour (e.g. speed cameras on our roads). To add to the perceived risk, the current $150 maximum fine for littering should be increased to $500 and a $50 minimum on the spot fine should be introduced. Whilst it will also impact on littering tourists, they too should respect our beaches and will also benefit from and enjoy cleaner beach environments.

    Anybody who has travelled to Singapore (one of the cleanest cities in the world) would have seen first hand how successful a well enforced litter enforcement strategy can be.

    If the above enforcement ideas were introduced I'm sure the word would quickly spread that the Gold Coast is serious about keeping it's beaches clean and people would realise that littering is not tolerated.

    The additional cost to the City of employing these officers would be far outweighed by the economic benefits of maintaining the Gold Coast's international reputation as of having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

    With the Coast set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018, now is the time to take decisive action to clean up the Coast's beaches before this historic event!

    I hope my comments can be a catalyst for action on this issue and I look forward to reading the final Ocean Beach Strategy (hopefully amended to include actions to address the litter issue on our beaches).
    Hide reply (1)
    • Exec Coord Assets and Planning over 7 years ago
      Thank you Mitchel for your comments about litter and Gold Coast Beaches. I have passed on your commendation and your suggestions onto our city cleaning, beach management and waste management teams.

      If you want to know more or have any additional comments or questions about sustainable waste management on the Gold Coast then you may visit
      http://www.greengc.com.au

      More information about Council's city cleaning services is available from Council's website at
      http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/city-cleaning-146.html

      You may also be interested in the Clean Beaches competition. Clean Beaches is a fun and competitive program run by Keep Australia Beautiful. Launched in 1998, Clean Beaches identifies the heroes on our coast who are taking action and caring for a beach or foreshore through:
      litter prevention initiatives
      resource recovery and waste management
      environmental innovation and protection
      water conservation
      sustainable energy management; and
      heritage and culture preservations

      The annual competition challenges Queensland communities to work together and prove they have the State’s cleanest beach, which is then judged nationally. Clean Beaches helps keep Queensland’s beaches and foreshores litter free, healthy and sustainable and acknowledges the best beach management practices!

      The Gold Coast is known for its award winning ionic beaches and foreshores. Past State awards for the Gold Coast include:
      2011 Australia's Cleanest Beach - Tallebudgera Beach
      2010‘Dame Phyllis Frost’ Litter Prevention Award – Tallebudgera Beach
      2010 Queensland’s Cleanest Beach – Tallebudgera Beach
      2010 State Litter Prevention Award - Burleigh Beach
      2010 State Resource Recovery Award - Tallebudgera Beach
      2005 Queensland’s Cleanest Beach - Surfers Paradise
      2000 EPA Queensland’s Cleanest Beach Palm Beach
      1999 Queensland’s Cleanest Beach - Palm Beach

      More information about the Clean Beaches competition is available from the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management website at http://www.griffith.edu.au/environment-planning-architecture/griffith-centre-coastal-management/community-projects/clean-beach-challenge
  • whitelight over 7 years ago
    Just keep doing what you are doing the beaches are perfect .....have you ever been to a deserted island it is filthy piles of human rubbish. great for beach combing . Love the Gold Coast
    Hide reply (1)