Vehicle access to the beach, April 2018

Vehicle access to our beach is a very tricky thing, hindered by coastal erosion and changeable river flows, tides and storms.

Private land where the vehicle entrance is.

Unfortunately, back in February 2018, Ex Tropical Cyclone Gita moved the river right up to the vehicle entrance and took away swathes of the seaward side of the dunes. That left us with a metre or two of drop between the end of the access track and the water and no way for vehicles to get on to the beach.

Particularly frustrating is that the Committee has been actively trying to work with Horizons District Council and Horowhenua District Council for several years now to sort out river control, erosion prevention and vehicle access.

24 February 2018 looking towards the vehicle entrance.
24 February 2018 looking towards the vehicle entrance.

In the meantime, nothing much has changed and the vehicle entrance remains unusable.

Current vehicle entrance at March 2018
Current vehicle entrance at March 2018

Unfortunately one local took it upon himself to cut a new track through private land without consulting the owner. Several hundred metres of track now lead to a new, unauthorised, vehicle entrance that nevertheless still exits into water most of the time.

An unauthorised vehicle track to the beach.
An unauthorised vehicle track to the beach.

Our vehicle access has been through private land and is entirely at the whim of the owner who has been kind enough to let us use that corner of the property. With this latest act of appropriation though the owner has let us know they are considering revoking all access. The owners are very upset with this rogue action.

The map below has an arrow to show where the official vehicle entrance is at the end of Manga Pirau Street, and has outlined the private land, which also extends right into the sea.

Private land where the vehicle entrance is.
Private land where the vehicle entrance is.

Today brought a very high tide and strong northwest winds driving water onshore. Now that the front line of defensive dunes has been broken the tide has started to encroach further on land. This is likely to cause increased erosion. I guess the next big winter storm will tell.

The sea encroaches on land at the 'new' vehicle entrance.
The sea encroaches on land at the ‘new’ vehicle entrance.

Locals have been quite clear that they want vehicle access to the beach. Many have boats, fishing gear or whitebaiting nets to deal with. Secure and usable vehicle access is something that needs to be sorted out.

3 thoughts on “Vehicle access to the beach, April 2018”

  1. Can you update us please with what if any action the council are going to take to get us access, i can see that people who own properties along the beach will just start creating their own access which isn’t going to help in the long run not much point developing Waikawa if we can’t access the beach thanks

    1. Great timing Jill, as there’s an update on its way. We need a way forward to a sustainable access. To this end we’re about to contact both Councils and some other interested parties with the aim of organising a public meeting. The point of that meeting will be to sort out next steps. Our goal is to achieve a usable vehicle access and as soon as possible.

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