Bogged cars at Goolwa Beach cause issues, carpark extension planned

Beach boggings: Alexandrina Mayor Keith Parkes is tired of irresponsible drivers creating safety risks.
Beach boggings: Alexandrina Mayor Keith Parkes is tired of irresponsible drivers creating safety risks.

Numerous vehicles throughout the holiday period have been getting bogged on Goolwa Beach, causing serious safety concerns for visitors and swimmers.

The soft, sandy nature of the vehicle access ramp to the beach and the beach itself, means that only 4WD vehicles can safely navigate the terrain however, drivers of 2WD cars are continuing to attempt to access the beach.

This is despite clear signage, indicating the risk of bogging dangers to drivers.

Alexandrina mayor Keith Parkes recently hit out on ABC radio, saying people were ignoring warnings and putting themselves and others at risk.

An Alexandrina council spokesperson said bogged vehicles present obvious problems.

"Emergency access to the beach is one problem, but there are also issues when bogged vehicles block other vehicles from getting off the beach which can be problematic with a rising tide," said the spokesperson.

"The safety of those who have bogged their car and those helping them are also in danger with fast rising tides and changing weather conditions in what is a remote stretch of beach with very limited rescue resources able to access those in an emergency situation."

Council, in conjunction with SA Water, have a sign at the top of the access ramp, highlighting 4WD only vehicle access from Goolwa Beach to the Murray Mouth between high and low tide marks.

The sign also highlights that vehicle access into the sand dunes is not permitted.

Upgraded signage: New signage at Goolwa highlights that only 4WDs should attempt to access the beach.

Upgraded signage: New signage at Goolwa highlights that only 4WDs should attempt to access the beach.

In the wake of the recent spate of bogged vehicles, council has also installed an additional, larger sign at the beginning of the access ramp.

"Council has jurisdiction of approximately 100 metres at the beginning of the access ramp - beyond that, the rest of the access ramp and beach extending east to the Murray Mouth, is under the jurisdiction of SA Water," said the Alexandrina spokesperson.

In his recent radio interview, Mr Parkes suggested bogged vehicles were taking up the valuable time and resources of Goolwa surf lifesavers, but the club declined to comment on the issue.

Mr Parkes also suggested the surge in carpark usage at Goolwa Beach during the holiday period was driving some beach-goers to make poor decisions about attempting to access the beach.

Extension of the Goolwa Beach carpark to the north by approximately 40 metres to create an additional 40 parking spaces and also creating additional car parks on Beach Road, have both been earmarked as recommendations in the Goolwa Beach Car Park and Surrounds Masterplan, which was endorsed by Alexandrina Council in February 2017.

Due to the council's current consultation and review of their Strategic Management Plan, the development of additional car parking has not yet been scheduled and is subject to external grant funding.

Alexandrina Council also recently invested $17,116.55 to employ professional lifeguards at Goolwa Beach over the holiday period to ensure the safety of locals and tourists alike.

Goolwa Beach is recognised as the most hazardous beach in South Australia due to persistent high waves, strong currents and the regular formation of rips, according to Surf Life Saving Australia's Beachsafe.