DCA says developer has a right to block access road to Laurys Bay, since there is no beach, only a ‘rocky coastline’ and jetty

The property owner who reportedly has fenced off traditional
access to Laurys Bay has the right to do so, according to the
Development Control Authority (DCA).

Last week, Senator Alex Browne complained that the access road to
the popular beach, located in the Willikies community, just west of
Long Bay, has been fenced in by a European who purchased a
private property.

A video of the fenced area went into circulation, showing a security
hut at the entrance gate, with two guards pointing to the “Private
property, no trespassing sign,” and reportedly asking Browne and
his team to leave the area.

However, in a swift response, the DCA has issued a press release
titled “PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.”  It says the recent
enquiries regarding access to the coastline at Laurys Bay, by way of
a road that runs through private lands, are not necessary. 

In investigating the matter, the DCA says it found that the developer
is within his right to fence his land, and that the road in question
does not lead to a beach, but to a rocky coastline and a jetty.

However, responding just as quickly, area resident George Wehner
charges that the Labour Party loyalists and operatives at work in the
DCA are engaging in “shameful lies, deceit, and misdirection.”

Producing a satellite image of the area, Wehner points out that the
blocking of the road has resulted in “the alienation of several bays,
coves and beaches from sea bathers and fisherfolk” in the Laurys
Bay area.

Going further, the government agency says that further
investigations have revealed a white-sand beach along the eastern
side of Laurys Bay – although it does not have clear public access.
Therefore, the DCA says, the developer has offered to construct a
road along the eastern boundary of his land, from the main road, to
provide residents with unrestricted access to that beach. 

The notice claims that construction of this road commenced over a
month ago and is expected to be completed within a short period.
The DCA’s defence of the property owner appears to contradict the
provisions of the Physical Planning Act and the Beach Protection Act,
which protect beach access and speak to the public’s right to have
landward access to any beach.

The Physical Planning Act also specifies that a developer must
provide access to the beach by whatever means – even if an access-
way has to be made through private property.

Accordingly, Wehner notes it is not the DCA that will adjudicate this
matter – but the courts.

A source notes that government agencies are mandated to follow the
laws and protect the public’s interest; however, it appears that they
are failing in their responsibility to the people in favour of foreign