Narayan and Sivani Ball were able to build their sandcastles outside the flagged area at Mooloolaba Beach.
Narayan and Sivani Ball were able to build their sandcastles outside the flagged area at Mooloolaba Beach. Nicholas Falconer

'Fun police' hit beach play

IS this the worst ever case of the fun police gone mad?

The Sunshine Coast is known for its picture-perfect beaches, however, one holiday maker says its reputation is being ruined by overzealous lifeguards who are telling people not to build sandcastles between the flags.

Gary Roberts, from the Brisbane suburb of Albany Creek, said he and other beachgoers were left gobsmacked on Friday when a lifeguard asked a young family to move on because they were playing in the sand in a patrolled zone.

He said the mother and two young children were doing nothing more than building a small castle between the flags and the lifeguard's request was met with disbelief by the family and on-lookers.

Mr Roberts, a frequent visitor to the Coast, said the case of bureaucracy-gone-crazy would not affect his decision to holiday in the region in the future, however, he worried it would reflect badly in the eyes of interstate and international travellers.

“The look on their faces was of disbelief. The lady with two children just half-shook her head, filled in the hole and knocked the castle down,” he said.

“She was so disgusted she picked up her bags and sat to the side and watched the kids play on their own.

“(The lifeguard) then walked about 20 or 30 feet to a chap who was playing with his own little son only a couple of metres inside the flagged area. Obviously the lifeguard said the same thing to them.

“He just shook his head and moved outside the flagged area.”

Mr Roberts said he feared other tourists would think the Coast was “backwards” if they were given the same directions.

“If they were overseas or interstate visitors, I wonder if they would come back here.”

Melbourne's Russell Ball was yesterday playing on Mooloolaba Beach with his young family – wife Monique, Sivani, 9, and Narayan, 5 – just metres from the flagged area.

Mr Ball said he understood the council's desire to keep beach-goers safe, but banning sandcastles was a step too far.

“I think it's just the case of the fun police at it again,” he said.

Sunshine Coast Council Manager of Lifeguard Services Scott Braby said he could not comment on the specific incident, however, lifeguards did have a general policy to move on beach-goers if they were a hindrance or hazard to others.

He said the council had no hard-and-fast rules on the issue and it was up to lifeguards to use discretion.

“It can be a potential issue. We ask people not to dig deep holes because people have been injured or even been killed digging deep holes in the sand, whether it's into the sand or into the dune,” he said.

Follow up: SLSQ says there's no ban on building sandcastles on Coast beaches

Is a sandcastle ban a step too far? Leave your comment below ...

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