Vehicle access to the beach, updates

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.

See also these two previous posts: Vehicle access to the beach, update 24 April 2018 and Vehicle access to the beach, April 2018 where Comments are closed.

16 thoughts on “Vehicle access to the beach, updates”

  1. Do people think that anything is truly practical [at least in regard to ensuring very modest construction costs + a lifetime beyond a few winters] aside from exploring the possibility of the southern walking track off Reay Mackay Grove being adapted ?

    1. Hi Nick,
      There is no other viable option apart from that southern beach access from Strathnaver.
      The Waikawa stream has been meandering for years and with the coastal erosion and the river moving south and cutting into the private land at the end of Manga Pirau Street it is stupidity and a waste of our rates to try for and anything else.
      At the present time there is only one property built alongside it – who will no doubt object and I completely understand that.
      At the present time this is the ONLY Council owned land with direct access to Waikawa Beach which is suitable long term.
      When we built here at Waikawa in 1979 there was no one alongside us as Council owned land between us and the beach…
      The Council subdivided and sold their only beach access [at the time] and now we have neighbours one of whom is having their land eroded by the river and the sea.
      Because of the Pritchard development which is Strathnaver the HDC now own 2 ‘Walking Tracks’ to the beach – surely at very little cost they can allow the people of Waikawa to actually get to the beach with their Kontikis and tractors etc to enjoy the beach we all love.
      People buy here because they want to get on to the beach.
      This is the only option long term ..

      1. Lesley

        I agree with your long term solution, It is the most practical . Humans have co existed with plants /insects and animals for millions of years, we are not re inventing the wheel. We are now into the fourth generation living and enjoying Waikawa Beach ( Manga Pirau St /Strathnaver Dr) , vehicle access for our Downs Syndrome/Autistic son and Grandad has become extremely important for us ( I will only speak on our behalf -not on behalf of anyone else, as I am sure we all have our own stories )

        The river cutting is a TEMPORARY SOLUTION to a long term problem

        We have a lot of the environmental stories and generalized stories but what about your story !

        Maybe a human story needs to be told ………….
        HOW IS YOUR FAMILY BEEN EFFECTED BY NOT HAVE VEHICLE ACCESS TO WAIKAWA BEACH?

  2. I’d like to see the option of extending the rock wall explored. I think if that groyne were extended quite a bit, it’s unlikely the river would do a whole hairpin bend to come back to its current position. I’m sure the wind and tides would push it back towards shore, but believe it would be in a more relaxed loop further away from the land.

      1. That *sounds* good, but I have a suspicion that such weaknesses would suffer damage and reduce the overall strength of the wall. Perhaps if it were low enough it would do the job but allow overspill that wouldn’t have the full force of the water? However, as someone who knows precisely nothing about engineering, my opinions on engineering matters are also worth nothing… Some actual expertise would be a good thing.

  3. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe we don’t need vehicle access to the beach. That maybe it it just isn’t practical or financially sensible with the instability of nature these days. And environmentally it would obviously be much better. And then we could all walk and be healthier too!

    1. Hi Ella
      Going out on a LIMB is not for everyone.
      My wife has a prosthetic leg and loves walking on the beach witch is one of the reasons we Brough in Waikawa . Alas she can no longer negotiate the narrower path to the beach. We got ourselves a 4X4 so we can get to good walking sand so she can walk but it is still VERY difficult to get there.

      1. Wow, all pun intended Jason & Carol ; >) Well said team, I absolutely never thought the difficulties out far enough for the disabled – Thank You very much for raising our awareness across this platform team! (apart from my treasured Whitebait season); I would offer a seat (with 4×4 van) when we take our 2 small doggies out for daily walks if there are times you cannot access the beach front.

  4. It is so important that we regain vehicle access to the beach. Many residents chose to live or holiday here so they could get down onto the beautiful beach to enjoy activities such as fishing (Kontiki/boat), watersports, family picnics & gatherings often needing a vehicles & trailer to accommodate gear. We feel strongly that the river needs to be cut at the groin and reinforced using blocks etc. to redirect it. This will solve the beach access problem and also help to stop continuing erosion of the current banks. As for the bird life and fish they will always return.

  5. I for one, NEED vehicle access to the beach as I have limited ability to walk on the sand. It’s not only physically fit people that have homes here but also others so think about those that are disabled in some way. Would be great if Councils considered disabled access!!!
    When we first came here there wasn’t any bird life or fish associated with the beach access so yes, they will repopulate in other areas.

  6. I was reading your update on Vehicle Access as above and noticed you had an estimate of $60000 to cut the river and wondered how you came to get this figure..?
    Would you be kind enough to explain a breakdown of the cost as, in 2009 the figure estimated by the HDC was $3000- $5000 – which I have on the pre application for consent to cut the river at the time.
    Your estimate seems alarming…
    Thank you.
    Richard

  7. I would support a new vehicle access to the beach provided:
    1. It is only to the beach on the south side of the river (i.e. no vehicle bridge across the river);
    2. In establishing the new access, full account is taken of likely further erosion by the sea so that ratepayers’ money is not wasted on works that are rendered useless within a decade or so.

    My observations over the past couple of years suggest that while the coast immediately to the north of the river is building up, the approx. 400m of coast immediately to the south of the end of Manga Pirau St (where the pre-Cyclone Gita vehicle access was) is being eroded quite rapidly – a distinct bay (‘Waikawa Bay’) is being formed here. Trying to manage the course of the river (e.g. with cuts to the sea) or where the sea erodes the coast (e.g. with piles of rocks) is inevitably not only costly but also futile, and therefore a total waste of money. This suggests to me that any new permanent vehicle access to the beach should be south of Waikawa Bay from Reay Mackay Grove.

  8. Absolutely correct observations Chris. The Waikawa Bay you have seen for two years has always been there regardless of the river cuts; she will always create this “Lagoon-type-Bay” something our NZ bird people are very aware and protective of. It is most unfortunate that the Strathnaver residents have no desire for a permanent access way in what would be the most logical place to install (and maintain), this mindset is not conducive to proactive progress for our community, IMHO it reeks of elitism to think that we who have lived here for 20-30 years plus; are considered not a part of this part of Waikawa Beach (sic). I would hope that if we could perhaps form a permanent, local, volunteer beach warden and rescue group including team members from the entire beach community would perhaps alleviate certain fears being expressed from Strathnaver Glen people? No one can stop progress; this entire sub division has been created by progress, and it will continue to grow regardless, point being…it would be best if we can integrate with any progress as one complete team with great concepts HDC cannot deny us.

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