LIGHT IT UP: Cr Denis Chapman with the proposed Scarness beachline that would be covered with floodlights. Council is expected to reject the proposal this week.
LIGHT IT UP: Cr Denis Chapman with the proposed Scarness beachline that would be covered with floodlights. Council is expected to reject the proposal this week. Blake Antrobus

Scarness lights face rejection at council meeting

A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to install floodlights along the Scarness foreshore could be rejected at this week's council meeting.

The original motion, moved by councillor Denis Chapman in April, proposes the installation of about six LED floodlights along Scarness beach and additional security cameras.

It was carried 10-1, with deputy mayor George Seymour voting against.

But council reports reveal the lights could have an adverse impact on the Scarness loggerhead turtle species, which is known to rest along the beach.

Advice provided by Dr Col Limpus, who is named in the documents as a "leading expert” details concerns about the ocean finding behaviour of the animal.

"(It) is disrupted by bright lights that prevent the turtles distinguishing the dim ocean horizon that they naturally use for obtaining their direction to the sea,” the documents read.

"There is currently no particular type of light that can be purchased and directly used to illuminate roads and paths that is not disruptive to marine turtle ocean finding behaviour.”

A spokeswoman from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said about 1-5 loggerhead turtles nest each year on Hervey Bay beaches from Point Vernon to Urangan.

"Marine turtles and their hatchlings can be impacted by bright light, including sky glow up to around 10 km from their beach,” the spokeswoman said.

"(It) may deter female turtles from nesting and can disorient hatchlings as they make their way to the ocean.

"When blinded by light so that they cannot see the natural seaward horizon, hatchling turtles may then make their way towards the bright lights on the shoreline, which can result in substantial increases in hatchling deaths.”

Council documents further reveal factors like increased litter, increasing the risk of beach users to the impacts of erosion and attracting marine creatures to the foreshore would also result.

The documents recommend taking no further action on the plan.

Cr Chapman said he would wait for Wednesday's vote to see what happens.



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