Update Wednesday 02 May 2018: in the interests of keeping the information together and enabling useful discussion, this Vehicle Access to Beach Updates post has been renamed. As new information comes to hand it will be added at the top and the item will be republished so it has a new date and goes out via email to subscribers.
Our Chair, John Hewitson, had a phonecall from a Ben at Horowhenua District Council about the vehicle entrance to the beach. Ben has spoken with some local residents, and the landowner of the current (unusable) entrance and is trying to make contact with someone from Horizons Regional Council to find a way to work together.
We are still working towards a public meeting, but such a meeting would be most useful if folks from the Councils can give meaningful undertakings for action.
Some access options being batted around include:
- More river cuts. This means cutting a channel directly out to sea before the river turns south. This has been done in the past, is extremely expensive (think around $60,000) and involves relocating fish and other wildlife that would be cut off. History shows these channels can be wiped out in as little as a week, depending on wind, rain and tide, in which case we’re back to where we started. This is definitely not a long-term solution. Update: This number has finally been tracked down. It was estimated in 1997 to cost $5,000. These days it costs around $10,000 for the cut itself.
- Turn the south walking track off Reay Mackay Grove (number 60) into a vehicle track. The softness of the sand and the length of track would mean it would need to be contoured, surfaced and made wide enough for cars with boats to pass. That could involve the Council acquiring more land. Note: the north track off Reay Mackay Grove is totally unsuitable for many reasons.
- Find a way to access the beach north of the river, rather than south. Not all of the land across the river is privately owned.
- Extend the wall of deflective rocks further towards the sea. As this would reduce the available estuary area for wading birds and fish apparently conservation groups oppose this option.
Meanwhile, we’re looking for suggestions for creating a viable access. Constructive comments are welcome below.
Do check out the Horowhenua District Council’s Online Maps for useful information about Waikawa Beach properties.