An explosion of cabanas have popped up around Aussie beaches recently – causing some to complain they are ruining the view – and now, councils could step in and ban the popular accessory.
Social media videos have seen beaches in places such as on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and in Perth, Western Australia, filled with them as people have raged they are taking over “prime real estate”.
It became such a problem for a popular beach in the US — South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach, which attracts 20 million visitors a year – the cabanas were banned all year round.
The ban has been in force since 2014 after a virtual wall was created impacting on public safety and the view, authorities said.
“They were so plentiful at peak times and locations that they blocked access and visibility to the water’s edge, affecting public safety and everyone’s enjoyment of our gorgeous beach,” Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach City’s public information officer, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Now Australia could follow in its footsteps, with councils from Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Waverly examining the possibility of restricting the beach accessory.
Northern Beaches Council is currently tackling the issue on the day – if cabanas impede surveillance they “kindly ask” people to relocate them, a spokesperson said, adding it was not looking to ban them at this stage.
Waverley Council also said the US-style rules were not necessary yet, but it would continue to monitor any safety issues.
“We do ask that people remain respectful of others when visiting our beaches, and if a particular section of the beach is busy, consider setting up in a less crowded spot so everyone can enjoy the view and have safe access to the water,” a spokesperson told the SMH.
Meanwhile, former mayor Sally Betts said it was time to think about the location and size of cabanas on Bondi Beach because it was a busy public space.
The wildly popular brand CoolCabanas is behind the increase of canopies dotting shorelines across Australia, proving to be a trendy and practical way for beachgoers to escape the sun while on the sand.
The founder of CoolCabanas, Queensland architect Mark Fraser, told news.com.au he has worked hard to create an “amazing product” and “strong brand” that resonates with Australians.
He noted that many beaches are packed in the summer either way, saying his product just means people are able to provide adequate shade for themselves and their family.
But a post in a community Facebook group for Noosa, on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, called on the council to implement a rule that CoolCabanas could only be used on a certain section on the beach.
Others agreed that the brightly coloured cabanas were “visual pollution”, with one person even claiming Noosa Beach looked “hideous” in summer.
However, the Cancer Council has applauded the use of cabanas as a sign people have become more sun smart, although it warns they don’t offer full protection against the harmful UV rays.
“Portable shade or existing structures are a really good way to protect yourself from the dangers of UV radiation,” the Cancer Council’s skin cancer committee chair Professor Anne Cust told the ABC.
“But it’s just one of the things we can do to stay safe in the sun. You will still get some UV radiation from the glare.
“You still need to be doing the other aspects of slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.”
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