Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland The Strand, Where Townsville. Meets the Sea Queensland Environmental Protection Agency

Media Release: 5/12/2003


The Strand in north Queensland has been named Queensland’s Cleanest Beach for 2003.

The popular Townsville beach out performed 136 other strong contenders from along the Queensland coastline and islands in the Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s EPA Clean Beach Challenge.

The Strand received its award and trophy from Queensland Environment Minister Dean Wells and Olympic Beach Volleyball gold medallist Natalie Cook at a State Awards event at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, and will now go on to represent Queensland in the 2004 Australian Clean Beach Challenge in the new year.

As well as the title of Queensland’s Cleanest Beach, eight Outstanding Accomplishment Awards were presented:

  1. Tourism Queensland Friendly Beach Award - Scarborough Beach(Redcliffe, Moreton Bay region)
  2. Collex Resource Conservation and Waste Management Award - Back Beach, Curtis Island(Gladstone, CQ-Wide Bay region)
  3. Beverage Industry Environment Council Litter Prevention Award - Noosaville Foreshore Beach(Noosa, Sunshine Coast region)
  4. Outdoor Advertising Association of Australia Young Legends Award - Suttons Beach(Redcliffe, Moreton Bay region)
  5. Bunnings Warehouse Community-Local Government Partnership Award - Livingstone Shire Council for Kinka Beach (CQ-Wide Bay region)
  6. Kingfisher Bay Resort Protection of the Environment Award - Holloways Beach(Cairns, FNQ region)
  7. Community Action Award - Wavebreak Island (Gold Coast region)
  8. Beach Spirit Award - Hay Point Beach (Sarina, Nth Qld region)

Keep Australia Beautiful Council (Qld) Inc Chief Executive Officer Barton Green said that over the past few months, thousands of Queenslanders had been working on environmental, conservation and anti-litter activities at their favourite beaches.

“2003 is the sixth season of the EPA Clean Beach Challenge and it has become obvious that beach communities are learning from the successes of beaches in previous years - which means that the best beach management practices in Queensland are being emulated right along the coast, which is terrific,” Mr Green said.

“The EPA Clean Beach Challenge is promoted as a fun competition, but the environmental outcomes are seriously good for Queensland beaches and the communities who use them.”

Mr Green said The Strand was assessed as best exemplifying all the elements of the EPA Clean Beach Challenge and was a deserving state winner.

"Our judge said The Strand displays the highest standards across all the EPA Clean Beach Challenge judging criteria and well deserves the honour of being Queensland’s Cleanest Beach for 2003 and the Queensland challenger for the title of Australia's Cleanest Beach 2004," he said.

Mr Wells said the EPA Clean Beach Challenge was not solely about beautiful beaches but about building community spirit and enthusiasm towards the environment.

“Again, this year’s high number of entries has highlighted the importance our communities place on protecting their local environments,” he said.

Mr Wells said as the major sponsor of the Clean Beach Challenge the EPA was extremely pleased with the program's continual results for the environment.

“Across the state, more and more people are forming community groups to raise the standard of their beaches and to protect some of Queensland’s most valued natural assets for the future,” he said.

“Our coastline has an international reputation for its beauty and the EPA Clean Beach Challenge is a great way to recognise and reward motivated communities and organisations who take good care of their favourite beaches and surrounding areas.

"Congratulations to all entrants in this year’s EPA Clean Beach Challenge."

Queensland’s Cleanest Beach - The Strand, Townsville
(North Queensland Region)

The Cleanest Beach Award takes into account a beach's geographic, environmental and economic circumstances, and assesses how efficiently and effectively the community uses the resources available to it against a range of criteria, including tidiness and litter abatement, visitor friendliness and hospitality, fauna and flora management activities, community interaction, youth activities, resource conservation and waste management, and local government partnerships within a community.

The Strand, now four years old in its present form, has become a Townsville icon and a focus of civic and community activity. The Strand offers excellent visitor hospitality with its day- and evening-use facilities, four beaches (two of them with seasonal stinger net enclosures), two Surf Life Saving Clubs, fresh water swimming pools, water play area, children’s playgrounds, fitness trail, fishing jetty, basketball court, amphitheatre, restaurants, kiosks, gardens, parks, and permanent artwork. All facilities are wheelchair accessible, including the beaches thanks to a 4WD motorised wheelchair. Signage and printed information is clear and pleasant. The Strand is a leader in effective resource conservation and waste and litter management policies and practices, including storm water quality control, on-site separation and multi-clearing of waste, beach sand sifting, water and energy conservation, cleaning without chemicals, and associated education and damage prevention programs. The Strand is a declared Dugong Protection Area and a turtle nesting site. Active community and Townsville City Council partnerships provide fauna monitoring and research; dune and other vegetation is managed under a Vegetation Management Plan; and dune beach sands are replenished regularly to ensure retention of their storm damage protection role. The Strand has become a major, all-age recreational focus for close to three million visitors each year, 69% of whom are local residents. Community events and celebrations include festivals, services, parades, competitions, regattas, concerts, weddings, markets, and arts and crafts exhibitions. The Strand is consistently being ‘fine-tuned’ in response to proactive surveys and feedback, and has acted as a catalyst for redevelopment and upgrading in the surrounding area. The Strand displays the highest standards across all the EPA Clean Beach Challenge judging criteria and well deserves the honour of being Queensland’s Cleanest Beach for 2003 and the Queensland challenger for the title of Australia's Cleanest Beach 2004.

Tourism Queensland Friendly Beach Award - Scarborough Beach (Moreton Bay Region)

This award recognises the importance of visitor hospitality and safety, and instructive and easily understood local information facilities.

Scarborough Beach attracts huge numbers of locals and visitors each year and it's easy to see why. Statuesque Norfolk Island Pines stand at attention above the lovely beachfront and serve as a natural signpost to the adjacent parkland with its shade shelters, barbecues, picnic tables, toilet facilities and accessible car park. The range and quality of public amenities ensures all visitors are well catered for. There is a skate half-pipe and basketball court, but ask any young visitor what the best part is and they will be sure to tell you - in an animated and enthusiastic response - the Pirate Place and Railway Place. These two creative and impressive play areas complement the gnarly old cottonwood trees which are just perfect for climbing. To ensure all members of the community can enjoy these great facilities, disabled access from the nearby carpark is currently being improved, and security lighting, including solar powered lighting, keeps the area well lit at night. Scarborough Beach and its parkland facilities are impeccably maintained by Redcliffe City Council. The beach is mechanically swept and the dune areas cleaned by hand, barbecues are steam cleaned, bins regularly emptied and toilets kept hygienically clean. Peak times can see toilets cleaned hourly. To help protect Moreton Bay, a gross pollutant trap has been installed to capture litter before it reaches the beach and Bay. Redcliffe City Council works hard to maintain this beach and adjacent park and the result is a wonderful open space the whole community can enjoy.

Collex Resource Conservation and Waste Management Award - Back Beach, Curtis Island (Central Queensland-Wide Bay Region)

This award recognises outstanding accomplishment in resource conservation and waste management.

With just 13 permanent residents and a growing number of weekend and holiday visitors, there was a pressing need for a comprehensive waste management and resource conservation strategy at Back Beach. After extensive public consultation, Gladstone City Council recently installed a waste transfer facility which allows refuse to be sorted, collected and removed from the island and taken back to the mainland landfill. This service has put an end to inappropriate disposal practices and allows residents and visitors to recycle cardboard, plastics, glass, paper, aluminium, oil and batteries. In the park areas, regularly cleaned litter bins are provided, and are monitored by the Council’s Park Ranger. To minimise water use, automatic shut off valves have been installed in the public composting toilets and on water tanks. Energy use is managed through automatic timer switches on the lighting at the Council-owned campground. Through the efforts of the Gladstone Midday Rotary Club, South End Progress Association and Gladstone City Council, weeds have been progressively removed and native trees planted to restore vegetation along the foreshore. Inappropriate access points to the beach have been closed through fencing and bollards, and the road profile has been altered to provide maximum protection for the beach. The investment by the council and community in sound resource conservation and waste management practices at and around Back Beach means Curtis Island will continue to provide an attractive and sustainable holiday option for the region.

Beverage Industry Environment Council Litter Prevention Award - Noosaville Foreshore Beach (Sunshine Coast Region)

This award recognises outstanding accomplishment in litter prevention, management and education.

Sometimes simple messages can be the most effective, and Noosa Council has one which certainly fits the bill. “We swim in what you put in” is the slogan used to great effect by the Council in an awareness program aimed squarely at the source of litter. Through the cooperation of business and community, litter at Noosaville Foreshore Park and beach is almost non-existent. The Beverage Industry Environment Council's litter "hotspot analysis” has been used effectively to appropriately site litter bins in the area. Attractive vegetation barriers and carefully selected garden plants, as well as shade cloth along fences, are used to capture windblown litter, particularly plastic bags, before they enter the waterway. The trial of a gross pollutant sock at the beach has provided the opportunity to analyse the pollutants washed through stormwater drains so that corrective action can be taken. Regular cigarette butt collection days, together with the distribution of novel Butt-ya-bins, with the message “It’s Laguna Bay not an ashtray”, help to develop community awareness of this significant litter problem. A regional litter forum was held in October, aimed at fostering a wider outlook on the awareness and management of litter on the Sunshine Coast. It is through this combination of strategies, and Noosa Council's commitment to litter prevention and management, that Noosaville Foreshore Park is maintained as an attractive, litter free area for families.

Outdoor Advertising Association of Australia Young Legends Award - Suttons Beach (Moreton Bay Region)

This award recognises outstanding accomplishment by youth and by a beach/community which encourages and promotes youth activity.

Some time ago the students from Mueller College responded to a call for help at Suttons Beach where a bit of personal care and attention was required. The students from Years 9 and 10 at the College have since adopted the beach and set about to improve it. A group of the enthusiastic young citizens sacrifice their weekly sports afternoon to collect litter from Suttons Beach and the adjacent park, with a particular focus on cigarette butts. The Mueller College students have established a close relationship with Redcliffe City Council and use their stewardship role to pass on relevant information about safety issues or facilities which may need attention. The students have also successfully lobbied Council for the installation of cigarette butt bins, whose use they will monitor and then provide feedback to the Council. This tremendous partnership between youth and council will ensure a positive future for Suttons Beach.

Bunnings Warehouse Community-Local Government Partnership Award -Livingstone Shire Council for Kinka Beach (Central Queensland-Wide Bay Region)

This award recognises outstanding partnership achievements by a local government and its community.

Livingstone Shire Council is establishing a bit of a reputation for its community partnerships. In late October, the Council and Nerimbera State School took out the State Local Government Leadership Award in Keep Australia Beautiful's Comalco Green & Healthy Schools program for their great partnership activities. Now it is the turn of the Kinka Beach community and the Council to receive recognition for a range of activities designed to protect and enhance this coastal area. Communication and education are hallmarks of the excellent programs being undertaken by Livingstone Shire Council in partnership with the Kinka Beach community. The Council's appointment of a Coastcare Project Officer has provided a strong link, and good understanding, between residents and the Council, and a Council education program for volunteers includes a Coastal Dune Management Information Booklet which stresses the importance of stable and naturally vegetated dunes for coastline protection. Information forums and workshops run by the Council, together with information delivered in letterbox drops, have increased the knowledge of residents and empowered them to take on projects. The formation of the Friends of Kinka Beach has seen a large section of foreshore dune cleared of rampant lantana and other weeds, revegetated and managed by local residents. The strong working relationship between community and council has, and will, reap valuable rewards for Kinka Beach.

Kingfisher Bay Resort Protection of the Environment Award - Holloways Beach (Far North Queensland Region)

This award recognises outstanding accomplishment in the protection of the local natural environment and, specifically, the preservation of fauna and flora.

Holloways Beach has been subjected to severe sand erosion and Cairns City Council is addressing the problem with an intensive program of sand replenishment and sand retention measures. In a partnership between the Cairns City Council, Holloways Beach residents, the Beach Protection Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency, a vegetation management plan is being prepared for the foreshore, dunes and beach under the auspices of the Marlin Coast Landscape Master Plan. Regular maintenance of foreshore areas, including weeding, fertilising and mulching is undertaken by Cairns City Council and local residents. The partnership has continued with this year’s planting of local native trees and shrubs to assist with the development of beachside habitats and wildlife corridors. The Tree Planting Group has weeded the area adjacent to the Environment Centre at the northern end of the beach, and has planted and established native trees. This privately-run Centre operates programs for school students of all ages, promoting awareness of coastal environments and conservation strategies. Recognition of the value of the natural features at Holloways Beach has been demonstrated by the retention and prominence of the ‘starling tree’, one of the foreshore features, and by the fencing of remnant vegetation to restrict public access to important wildlife habitats. Holloways Beach has a strong commitment to activities and management practices that protect and enhance the local natural environment.

Community Action Award – Wavebreak Island (Gold Coast Region)

This award recognises outstanding community organisation and pride – expressed through civic, cultural and environmental activities.

Wavebreak Island has won awards in the EPA Clean Beach Challenge for the past few years, primarily on the strength of activities undertaken by Brisbane's Padua College Environment Club and Gold Coast schools. Last year, the Keep Australia Beautiful Council suggested the establishment of a "Friends of Wavebreak Island" group to support the efforts of the schools. KAB is pleased to acknowledge that Wavebreak Island has once again been recognised in the EPA Clean Beach Challenge, this time, in part, because of the efforts of the new Friends of Wavebreak Island group. The past year has seen a large and very successful campaign to build community support for this island and its beach, and to formalise that support with the creation of the Friends group. Now, what was originally a pet project of enthusiastic students has grown to become an ongoing project involving people from a broad spectrum of the community. Local and state politicians have recognised the merits of the activities and are offering their support. The good work of south east Queensland school students has established a solid foundation for broad, community based ownership of this popular recreational area.

Beach Spirit Award - Hay Point Beach (North Queensland Region)

This award recognises coastal communities which are facing or have faced difficult times, but which show outstanding commitment to solving problems by turning them into opportunities.

Hay Point Beach is a sweep of sand extending almost 2km from the headland of Hay Point, and the coal loading terminal, towards the tug harbour and the small township of Half Tide. A turtle nesting beach, it is backed by an often steep, tree-covered dune and slope system. The beach and foreshore have been highly degraded through human misuse and unchecked weed growth over many years. But a group of Hay Point Services staff has volunteered to rehabilitate the beach and the foreshore, within an existing vegetation master plan. So far they have litter-picked the beach and foredune, begun to clear lantana, prickly pear, guinea grass and other weeds, restricted vehicle access to the beach by erecting barriers, and constructed a laddered beach access. These endeavours, which form part of the Sarina Beaches Habitat Rejuvenation Project, have the support of Hay Point Services and are being assisted by advice and guidance from the neighbouring Louisa Creek Progress Association and other coastal groups. This project was born from a dogged determination to address past environmental neglect, and the rehabilitation group appears undeterred by the extent of work still to be done. Their positive attitude and efforts to date have already had a noticeable effect on the health of the landscape and the quality of the beach and foreshore.

Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland