Hungry Head resident Kit Moore says driving to the beach at Wenonah Headland is fraught with danger because it has been so long since the road was graded.
“Council used to do it every year, but in the last three years with rain and usage it’s become so bad that if you don’t know the road it’s actually quite dangerous,” she said.
“We’ve seen a young woman in a small car come down here and flip on her side. It’s all very well putting a sign up saying it’s 4WD only, but a lot of people will attempt to come down here and then they can’t turn because there’s blind corners.”
Kit said regular users of the road know to slow down as they approach the ridges and potholes along the way, but others can be taken unawares.
“A lot of people, mainly tourists and surfers, come flying down here,” she said.
The road leads to an area by the beach with picnic tables, car parking, toilet facilities and a boat ramp and is regularly used by residents, fishing club members, tourists, surfers and swimmers.
Like the access to the off-leash dog walking area Sand mines near Hungry Head, a sign warns that the route is only suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles and that NSW Crown Lands, not Bellingen Shire Council, is responsible for maintaining it.
Council’s general manager Liz Jeremy said council used to grade the tracks on behalf of Crown Lands but that arrangement ceased about five years ago.
The Courier-Sun approached Crown Lands for comment and a spokesperson for Department of Industry-Lands and Water said the matter was in hand.
"The department has always worked closely with the Bellingen Shire Council to maintain Crown land and access roads and has supported the council in previous years when it managed these areas.
"The department is aware of the community’s current concerns around access to Wenonah Headland and is currently planning repair works on the access road."