June 2018 Newsletter

Kia ora Waikawa whānau. What a busy year it’s been! We’ve had not one, but two Public Meetings, there are buildings popping up all over (especially on the Strathnaver side), there’s been a bit of general vandalism and antisocial behaviour, and a few big thunderstorms woke us up too.

Meanwhile, the best news is that the Council are not going ahead with plans to put water and sewage infrastructure in to Waikawa Beach.

In this newsletter …

  1. It’s been busy
  2. HDC rejects water and sewage services
  3. Coastal expertise needed
  4. Beach access
  5. Hoons in the dunes
  6. Suspicious behaviour
  7. Footbridge maintenance
  8. Water quality at the Footbridge November 2017 to April 2018
  9. Whitebaiting
  10. Road markings refreshed
  11. Thunderstorms
  12. Property news
  13. What your subs have paid for
  14. Quick updates
  15. Did you know: A well-travelled river

HDC rejects water and sewage services

Thanks everyone! Your interest and action really made a difference.

The Horowhenua District Council were thinking about piping drinking water to our community, providing sewage disposal, and increasing our rates to pay for it. After a well-attended Public Meeting a very large number of people made submissions, both written and oral, coming out almost unanimously against the idea.

The Horowhenua District Council got the message and have decided not to proceed here. There is no word as yet on the rezoning proposed in the Growth Strategy.

Coastal expertise needed

Everyone has ideas about the coastal erosion Waikawa Beach is suffering and how to fix things, but what we really need is people with actual expertise to help us. If your area of expertise is in coastal erosion, river flows, tides or the like then we’d love to hear from you. As we deal with the Horizons Regional Council and the Horowhenua District Council we don’t always have the knowledge to ask the right questions or question the answers. If you have relevant knowledge (not just opinions) please email us at wbra.committee@gmail.com .

Beach access

The bad weather and high tides in February wiped out the vehicle entrance to the beach through private land off the end of Manga Pirau Street. The river took a few more metres of sand away from the bank and that entrance now terminates in a drop of a metre or more directly into water. The entrance was used by vehicles, but also by pedestrians and horse riders.

Unfortunately one local took matters into their own hands and bulldozed a new track across that private land without the owner’s permission. The owner was very distressed (as were many of those who live in and visit Waikawa Beach) and has pointed out they are within their rights to close all access across the land and beach that they own if they so choose. The owner has made it clear no other alterations to their land should be undertaken (including restorative planting) without their express prior consent.

Quad bike blocking the south track.
Quad bike blocking the south track.

Other locals or visitors have decided that the signs on the pedestrian-only beach access tracks off Reay Mackay Grove which clearly ban vehicles from using those tracks can be ignored. Quad bikes have been encountered on both tracks, with one owner not only driving along the track but leaving his vehicle parked on the track blocking pedestrians while he took a stroll on the beach.

We held another well-attended Public Meeting, this time about beach access for all. That meeting reached no agreement on how everyone can access the beach safely, but did agree to ask the Council to do a River Cut and restore the original vehicle entrance. Read more: Report on the Public Meeting on beach access 19 May 2018.

The Council are making the necessary preparations, so that river cut should take place in June 2018. The Committee are working closely with the Councils on both the river cut and a more permanent solution that will also help stop the severe coastal erosion.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to receive emails with news exclusively about the beach access please subscribe to our special On Track Waikawa mailing list. There’s a signup form on the right-hand side of most pages of our website: waikawabeach.nz.

Hoons in the dunes

On the weekend of 14 and 15 April 2018 a group of people with a ute and several quad bikes visited Waikawa Beach. Apart from general night-time noise they took to the dunes off Reay Mackay Grove in their vehicles, causing damage and creating a nuisance. Read more: Hoons in the dunes

Around that time too one resident reported that people on quad bikes had turned up at their front door after midnight, and attempted to cross their private property to the beach.

Suspicious behaviour

Around midnight on 03 June 2018 people were observed trying a front door in James Street and attempting to break into a garage nearby. A neighbour scared them off and called Police, but they weren’t found. Remember to secure your property when you’re not around, and to lock your doors at night. Call the Police if you have concerns. Read more: Possible attempted burglary in James St on 03 June 2018.

Recently too someone stole the sensor light bulbs from above the potentially lifesaving AED on the toilet block. We’ve asked the Council to protect the lights with a wire cage.

Footbridge maintenance

The footbridge needs some maintenance. The Council aim to resurface the footbridge soon (should start on 18 June), and are also planning some more major structural works later. We’ve confirmed that an anti-slip mesh will be laid on top of the bridge surface as part of the refurbishment.

The resurfacing and handrail work means the bridge will be closed for a few days.

Note too the new signs that have appeared warning of dangerous trees on the land across the bridge. Enter at your own risk.

Water quality at the Footbridge November 2017 to April 2018

Did you swim in the river this summer? Horizons made 22 water quality measurements at the footbridge over summer. 10 were Green, 8 Amber and 4 Red. Read more at: Water quality at the Footbridge November 2017 to April 2018.

Whitebaiting

Whitebaiting season starts on 15 August 2018 and closes on 30 November 2018. Check the regulations.

Road markings refreshed

Did you notice the fresh white roadmarkings at the corner of State Highway 1 and Waikawa Beach Road, and all down the road and through the village and Strathnaver? After a resident alerted NZTA to how tired and worn the markings were NZTA promptly sorted it out.

Thunderstorms

Several times in the week starting 21 May 2018 we had some pretty fierce thunderstorms, with some intense but brief rain (or maybe even hail). In our house at least, some of the fuses blew in one storm after a 64 dB clap of thunder / lightning blast. In another I could hardly hear myself on the phone.

With climate change warming things up we should expect more storms, more rain and more severe weather. Read more: How will slower and wetter storms affect Waikawa Beach?

Property news

Some properties are still on the market, while a few more have changed hands recently, including on Reay Mackay Grove. There’s even more building work along Strathnaver Drive, including major earthworks on one of the very boggy sections. A new dwelling has just been lifted onto a section on Reay Mackay Grove.

What your subs have paid for

Your subs cover regular items such as some lawn mowing around the village entrance, and summer activities. This year they have also allowed us to run two public meetings (hall hire, facilitator, post-meeting cuppa) and to produce pamphlets and fliers. We also keep reserves for contingencies like those meetings or a future need to hire in expertise.

The good news though, is that it’s not yet time to pay your subs for the next year. We’ll let you know when they’re due. Many thanks to all those who’ve paid their subs and joined the Association, lending weight to our voice as we work for the community.

Quick updates

  • In 2018 your Committee met in January and at Queen’s Birthday. The Easter meeting was cancelled. Labour Weekend will be the next scheduled meeting. Committee members though have been extremely busy with the urgent matters of coastal erosion, beach access, the River Cut, and submissions to both Horizons Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council.
  • If you have something to contribute then please either email the Committee at wbra.committee@gmail.com, or visit the Contact page at the website, where you can make a public comment.
  • Did you know you don’t have to keep visiting our website to read all the new articles? Enter your email address in the website sign-up box on the right-hand side of almost any page.
  • Our online noticeboard is available for all to use, along with the actual noticeboards by the footbridge.

Did you know: A well-travelled river

We’ve found some old maps and photos in the Archives. Back in 1942 the Waikawa River flowed about 2 Km towards the south from the future site of the village and went into the sea at about the Waiorongomai Stream. The following very small photo gives an indication.

But the river has sometimes flowed out to sea much closer to the village, as it does now. For much larger photos visit Aerial photos from the archive.

WBRA archive map 1942.
WBRA archive map 1942.

And finally, what a great community we have! So many people got involved in the discussions around infrastructure, rezoning, beach access, talking with friends, neighbours and Committee members. It’s so heartening to see how many really care about this fabulous place we live in. Research shows that a community that has strong social cohesion is much more resilient in the face of a disaster: Strong social networks and social cohesion can be more important for a community’s resilience than the actual physical structures of a city.

Heoi anō,
Miraz Jordan

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