Petition started as locals fear Rules Beach will stay closed
BAFFLE CREEK residents fear they could be cut off from Rules Beach forever, after erosion forced Gladstone Regional Council to close access to the popular tourist destination.
Locals Tony and Robyn Bridges have kicked off a petition to re-open the beach.
And the couple said locals are prepared to pick up shovels and protest in a bid to get their beach back.
As Baffle Creek's only tourist attraction, Mr Bridges said the town's economy wouldn't cope without it.
"We already lost our tavern to the floods; we can't lose our beach too," he said.
And after weeks of trying to get a straight answer out of local authorities, Mr Bridges said he feared the beach would be closed forever.
"They are not saying to me what the issues are and where they are heading," he said.
Gladstone Regional Councillor Rick Hansen yesterday promised locals wouldn't be cut off permanently, but couldn't say when the beach would re-open.
"It is something we are working on, but there are a lot of hurdles to climb before we get there; the red tape is quite extreme," he said.
Councillor in charge of parks and recreation Graham McDonald said Rules Beach was closed before Christmas due to on-shore winds and high summer tides that eroded the frontal dunes.
He said conditions left a 2m drop along the beach.
"Some areas will take years to re-establish natural formations," he said.
Cr McDonald said work will begin to help trap sands to build dunes along the foreshore in the next few months, as weather conditions permit.
"This has not been possible before now due to the storm season, cyclonic disturbances along the coast and high king tides in March," he said.
But Mr Bridges wants a commitment in writing that the beach will re-open.
The community protest is on May 11.