A couple of minutes before the Public Meeting about beach access, about two thirds of the final 110 or so attendees had arrived. The meeting was held in Manakau Hall on Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 2 pm and went on till 3.30 pm.
The meeting was opened and closed by John Hewitson, Chair of the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association, and the Facilitator was Harley Thorpe. The meeting was also recorded on audio (85 MB, MP3).
What follows are the personal notes taken by Miraz Jordan, WBRA Committee member.
If you believe something in the notes is incorrect, please let us know. If you want to discuss what someone said at the meeting, please add your comment below.
- John Hewitson (JH): intros
- Reports from this meeting will go to Horowhenua District Council and Horizons Regional Council
- Councils need to resolve how to protect foreshore and give us access onto the beach
- Committee has suggested south Reay Mackay Grove track — not suitable so Council suggested north track
- Council have said: Horowhenua District Council contacted Horizons Regional Council — would need environment impact assessment etc (see letter JH has) — could take a significant amount of time
- Horowhenua District Council suggested a river cut as a short-term measure
- Neville Hyde and Kirstie, 25 Drake St: beach access is significant for them, eg fishing. Have had access for 30 years across Miratana private property. Have we had discussion with Miratanas, eg getting across their land rather than round Strathnaver Drive? Formalities could take years. North track off Reay Mackay Grove is 20 metres wide. Foreshore option may not be realistic with global warming.
- Alister Holden: Access ruined by river erosion. Unauthorised track terminates in steep drop off and goes into river — only possible at low tide and with no flood water. Many vehicles not suitable for that. Takes its toll on vehicles. 2 walkways on Reay Mackay Grove which could at low cost and little effort to allow vehicles. No big deal to shift posts and battens. High rainfall in Tararuas with spring tide brings floods. Recent road works have helped with roads but floods need to get out to sea. Rock groyne exists, but it’s poorly designed. Too low and too short. Some want to keep vehicles off the beach but far more came to Waikawa Beach to fish etc. Alister rescues someone about every 2 weeks. Suggests: bigger, longer rock groyne that allows river to go more southwest, cut river, concrete barriers backfilled with rubble and covered with sand to protect damaged sandbanks. Then recreate vehicle access across Miratana land. Most convenient. Reay Mackay Grove walking tracks need to be open to vehicles — at least one of them. Either track would take only 1 day to put in, but no line of sight so would need passing bays. Horowhenua District Council and Horizons Regional Council aren’t taking responsibility and don’t seem to be following terms of Resource Consent. Would like WBRA to approach local MP Nathan Guy, Horowhenua District Council and Horizons Regional Council to get urgent resolution. We the community could do the work if money is forthcoming.
- [Clarification requested by Jenny from Manga Pirau Street: what discussion has there been with Miratanas?] [JH responded: have contacted Miratanas. To date they haven’t come back to us, but have said work without consultation will lead to them closing access across land. JH had previously read out info from Arthur Nelson.]
- Sophie Campbell: lives at south end of Reay Mackay Grove. Would like dedicated safe pedestrian-only access. Some vehicles have gone through dunes at Reay Mackay Grove creating damage. Lots of kids in this neighbourhood who use tracks. Both tracks are dedicated Recreational Reserves — would need to be consulted on and a long process to turn them into roads. One track is 5 metres wide and could be planted and fenced as dedicated pedestrian. The north track is 14 metres wide and opens into wedge where pingao has been planted to preserve dunes and where birds nest. Want to protect that. Manga Pirau Street access could be again vehicle access. Many people want or need vehicle access. Groynes could be used. Could have access off walkway — currently footbridge. River cut could be good short-term solution.
- Jan Jordan: thank Sophie for bringing up Reay Mackay Grove issues. Many have taken vehicle access for granted. Many at Reay Mackay Grove end value lack of traffic and birds etc and bought for that. Oystercatcher family breeds there. Special part. Saw a katipo spider in dunes there recently. Endangered species are there. Less development is a good thing. Need to consider Strathnaver folks as well. Opportunity to reconsider how we want our beach to be in future: preserve a protected pristine ecosystem — draw for many others. [clapping]
- Viv Stewart and Peter, Norna Grove: love the beach and love fishing. Would take quad bike and contiki for fishing. Sophie brought up good points re Strathnaver folks and wanting to preserve beach. Believes we need access or we’ll have people going through private property again to access beach. Need permission from Miratanas and need urgent action. Whitebaiting soon. Extend groyne and try for good job with former access. Everyone should have a say. Need a majority. [clapping]
- Facilitator: seems to be 2 conversations — immediate access, especially for vehicles and also alternative routes and future access, longer process. Frame conversations to that.
- Pete Saunders, Norna Grove — young kids, value access, fishing. Erosion and impact on properties, insurance, property values. Protect Waikawa Beach for the future. Additional groyne. Unclear on outcome of meeting. Sensible to have short, medium and long term plans. Not clear what we’ll be voting on at this meeting. We could help Council expedite a process as Alister suggested. Don’t understand which views Committee is representing and how it could differ from own views. [clapping]
- JH: looking at how many people are in favour of river cut to re-establish access across Miratana land. Would require earthworks. If you move more than 50 cubic metres of sand etc needs Consent. [person in audience — work requires far in excess of 50 cubic metres] Would be a quick solution. [Neville asked clarification — already Consent. Why can’t they just use material being removed? JH: they first build a dam with sand and straighten river. Surplus sand is doubtful. Haven’t had surplus in the past. Last cut lasted less than a week. Need long term solution.]
- Facilitator: show of hands of who wants to speak — about 8.
- Man in audience: can override Consent for emergency work. [clapping]
- Kezna Cameron: has property at end of Reay Mackay Grove. Had property 3 years but lately a lot of people coming onto farm on quad bikes, including after midnight. Scary. Where have they come from? Can’t access beach on original Manga Pirau Street access. Now need gates etc. In favour of getting a cut done quickly. [clapping]
- Doug Pewee (?): recreational whitebaiter. 50 years at Waikawa Beach. Has changed. Up coast Fusilier boat wreck now 500 metres inland. Hydrabad now 100 metres inland. Waitārere Beach now eroding 1.5 metres per year. Waikawa River used to have flow of 28 litres per second. Now more like 1 litre per second. Cuts over years and sand has built mouth about 1.5 metres high. Erosion is man made. Stuffing river up by cutting it. Access does need to be sorted out. [clapping]
- Lesley-Anne Walker: been at Waikawa Beach a long time. Submitted to long term plan re access. Must get river cut so as to use old access. That’s short term but we need long term. Feels south access on Reay Mackay Grove would be simple. Just needs to be wide enough to get past with boats and tractors. The north track is far too close to river. River has meandered for hundreds of years and will continue to do so. Lives close to access and is used to cars. Can’t stop change. [clapping]
- Matt Fogden: lives on Reay Mackay Grove. Access ways there will never happen. Only solution is to cut river. Dunes to north are too high and pushing river. Erosion started when quad bikes invented. Need to fill in hole — gravel from further up Waikawa could be moved. Use old access but make permanent track. Area to south should be conservation land. Plant marram. Keep river where it is. [clapping] Miratana family he thinks are happy for access as is. More tracks though will blow out sand and river will come in.
- Tony Wallace: from Levin, but visits Waikawa Beach twice per week. Thought this was about pedestrian access. Thank landowners for allowing access across to beach. [clapping] While walking through forest across footbridge saw dangerous tree. Rang Council but they said it’s private land. Let owners know and they put up signs. Would prefer to see tree come down. Would like Council to assist landowners with removing trees which endanger public. [clapping]
- Craig Belcher: coming here since age 15. Had property here about 12 years. Has tried to keep Waikawa Beach a secret. Kuku has been shut off. Waitārere Beach is all cars. Uses beach here. Thanks to private owners. We have a treasure, but nature has trumped us. We’ve lived in harmony for a long time. Nature is beating us here. Doesn’t want easy track to access beach — that allows dog walkers etc time without vehicles. Need to work with private landowners. We’ve had a good run. Have respect for environment. Get short term answer. [clapping]
- Huhana Smith: from Kuku. Have helpful suggestions and can help pull ideas together. Kuku decisions took years. Need to get all ideas out. 25 keys to access gate at Kuku Beach. Perhaps consider limited access as can stop destructive access. Have to step back and let nature be nature. Losing coastline biodiversity. Coastal Dune Network can help with positive solutions. Get quads and trailbikes out of dunes. Is currently Head of School of Art at Massey in Wellington. Deals with artists and designers. Erosion will get worse. Also runs big coastal projects between Hokio and Ōtaki. Looking at impact of climate change and other things. Stay open to range of things to consider. Climate change is big and erosion will get worse. Issues for groundwater too. Get a holistic plan and cover all concerns, hear all voices. Offer to help to pull together all views and pull a holistic plan together. [loud clapping]
- Ella Kahu: Sarah Street. So important to get all views and hear all points. Important to hear multiple voices and plan bigger. Need cut now, how to approach Council re more permanent erosion solution for river, warm and open consultation with Miratanas, develop stable access. Balance ecology and people. Against an additional track. That will increase quad bikes and others who damage things. [clapping]
- Peter: lived at Waikawa Beach for last 18 months. Would prefer river cut and rocks to hold it. Quad bikes and 4 wheel drives supposedly damaging things — down beach every second day for last 18 months — hasn’t seen anyone doing anything stupid. Don’t want to limit people or we’ll get more hoons as per a few weeks ago. [clapping]
- Facilitator: any more comments? Two.
- Jeannie, Manga Pirau Street, 30 years: some have talked about vision for future and maintaining our incredible community. We also need time for long term vision as well as short term solution. We’ve had amazing offers of skills. Have vision and unanimity. Can be an exemplar of balance.
- Facilitator: amazing turnout today.
- Laurie Stevenson: been here some years and loves the place. Have enjoyed beach and seen river come down. They used to cut river every few years and sand would bank up. High tide would swing out. Longer between cuts. Just talking about cutting sand. Decent height and wouldn’t be wiped out. River needs to be maintained all the time even if we do something on Reay Mackay Grove. Every 3 or 4 years would allow sand hills to grow back on Miratana block. Reay Mackay Grove sandhills could be creeping out and coast is growing except for river damage. Doesn’t see limiting access as reasonable. Just driving down track doesn’t damage grasses etc. River must be maintained. [clapping]
- Facilitator: thanks. Was orderly. Hand over to JH.
- JH: would like people to know we’ve already had volunteers to repair damage to vegetation by unauthorised track. That should please Miratanas to see land restored. None of us would like that damage to our own property. Don’t want to upset Miratanas. Do want to maintain Manga Pirau Street access. Until recently beach speed limit was 100 Kph, now 30 Kph. Need vote: in favour of river cut? Arthur Nelson from Horowhenua District Council will consult with Horizons Regional Council and Miratanas to do this. Show of hands: totally in favour, one not.
- JH: thanks to committee for work and info.
- Question from audience: in favour of cut. Need to champion ongoing maintenance to river. If consent expiring then renew it. JH: One cut per year is not enough.
- Q: implication of cut and groyne? JH: need to get consensus with two councils for that.
- Q: get vote for asking council for more permanent solution?
- JH: lots of points of views about how river flows. Whitebaiters don’t want straight river. Eco for birds desirable.
- JH: will ask for river cut asap and requesting groyne.
- Q: what is right solution? Needs engineers.
- Kevin Burns: clarify: full review expected by Horizons Regional Council in October 2018.
- Meeting closed at 15:29 [clapping]
The meeting was followed by a cup of tea and a biscuit.