Local News

Bushfires and COVID caused decline in people using Clarence Valley beaches

Bushfires and the COVID-19 lockdown have caused a 33% decline in visitors using Clarence Valley beaches.

This significant decrease is consistent with other areas of New South Wales and is a result of severe bushfires in the spring and summer months affecting both tourist and local attendance which was then followed by COVID-19 travel restrictions and limitations on public gatherings.

General manager, Ashley Lindsay explained, “Australian Lifeguard Service figures show that during the 2019/20 season there was a total of 119,034 visitors to Clarence Valley beaches this was a decrease of 60,838 compared with the previous season.”

The announcement in the figures coincided with a Council tender for the provision of Lifeguard services. Clarence Valley Council as the Crown Land manager has previously engaged the Australian Lifeguard Service to manage lifeguard services at seven locations within the Clarence Valley Council local government area.

“Providing Lifeguard services is an important Council service. There is a significant safety risk to the community if a service is not provided, particularly during the peak season. During this lifeguard season there have been 14 rescues and 8758 preventative actions which demonstrates the importance of the service,” he said.

Patrolled beaches include Bluff Beach (Iluka), Turners Beach, Main Beach and Pippi Beach in Yamba, as well as beaches in Brooms Head, Minnie Water and Wooli. In addition, a drone service has continued at Yamba providing critical data for the Department of Primary Industries regarding marine activity and surf conditions.