Northern Beaches Council will put out a call for volunteers to help monitor the number of people at beaches this summer.

With Council’s Summer Action Plan defining the limits on use of public spaces, the capacity to police the number of people on beaches and in parks has been called into question by Council.

With much of Sydney holidaying at home this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, concerns have been raised over the number of people who may visit the Northern Beaches this summer.

Surf Clubs have indicated that with the potential for multiple flagged areas on a beach, they will have their hands full watching people in the water and are not keen to police numbers on the sand.

Council claims it does not have resources to manage the level of monitoring required and is calling on members of the community to volunteer.

Last night’s Council meeting resolved to call for expressions of interest from members of the public who would be willing to act as ‘COVID safety ambassadors’ to monitor beach numbers.

Council’s hope is the ambassadors would augment Council staff and perform a similar role to the volunteers at the Sydney Olympics, providing a friendly face to crowd management.

Kylie Ferguson

Kylie Ferguson

Cr Kylie Ferguson said she shared the concept with a community group who had reacted positively to the idea.

“Everyone in the community since COVID is willing to go the extra mile, this is an example of the community stepping up. Maybe we should get t-shirts like the Olympics had,” said Cr Ferguson.

Mayor Regan said he had seen volunteer marshals working well at rugby games, being respected as they asked people to maintain distance.

Vincent De Luca

Vincent De Luca

However, Cr Vincent De Luca expressed ‘serious concerns’ about the proposal and called for a survey of local sporting associations to understand the risks of violence and abuse against volunteers.

“This winter has seen a number of volunteers abused, threatened and nearly assaulted because of being appointed voluntary marshals at sporting events, particularly on the Northern Beaches,” said Cr De Luca.

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