Hyams Beach is inundated with tourists around the holiday break, so much so that local residents are forced to leave the village to avoid the influx.
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The traffic becomes too much, and locals’ driveways are often parked over or blocked by visitors. On January 26, Shoalhaven City Council began using a variety of temporary measures to combat the traffic problems that plague the village at this time of year.
A temporary roundabout manned by traffic controllers will be in operation at Naval College Road and Boderee Avenue until January 6, which will drop the speed limit from 80km/h to 40km/h. The parking issue is also being addressed, with a cap put on the number of vehicles allowed in the village.
Member of the Hyams Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association Lois Sparkes praised the council for implementing the temporary solutions, and said they had definitely made a difference to the usual Hyams Beach holiday chaos.
“Christmas Day was a nightmare because the traffic management wasn’t in place yet,” she said.
“Traffic was going every which way and it was absolute chaos. But now, with the temporary measures in place, there’s a completely different feeling, it’s more of an organised chaos.”
While parking is still an issue, Ms Sparkes said rangers had been very active in trying to curb the problem.
“We’ve had a few instances of people blocking driveways and things but the rangers have been very responsive,” she said.
“They’ve been sorting things out fairly well so I have to compliment them on sterling effort.”
While the traffic has eased, littering and illegal camping has continued to plague the village over the past week.
Campers have been setting up sites on the beach and in surrounding areas illegally, which is leaving locals concerned about the environment.
“It’s the litter and rubbish these campers leave behind that is really concerning,” Ms Sparkes said.
“The campers come to see our gorgeous white sand but they are lighting fires and leaving the charcoal and wood chips on the beach.
“It’s damaging the environment.”
The temporary solutions have made a positive difference for full-time residents of Hyams Beach, but they say a permanent solution is needed to combat the ongoing Christmas traffic problems.
“Shoalhaven ratepayers are being asked to flip the bill for this temporary solution so we need to think about what has to happen long term,” Ms Sparkes said.
“Ratepayers shouldn’t have to bare the cost of the problems that come with a major tourist influx.”
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