On behalf of the WBRA, below is an interim update on the beach vehicle access issue.
An onsite meeting was held yesterday with HDC and Horizons in relation to the beach access and the current state of the river in terms of e-coli counts etc. Two principal topics were discussed, the current inability of vehicles to access the beach and the possible health risks to persons swimming or boating in the river. Two main requests were presented. That arrangements for a temporary solution to the vehicle access be made with the landowners whilst a longer-term solution is worked on (lease of land etc.) and that an urgent river cut be done to allow the river to flush and clean itself before the height of the summer season.
The outcome was as follows: The landowners have apparently agreed to the establishment of a temporary access provided the work is undertaken by HDC and not by anyone else. HDC has agreed to this but will require a resource consent before any work can be done. For anyone who has applied for a resource consent you will know this is not a rapid process so it isn’t going to happen tomorrow. The bad news aspect to that is that there is unlikely to be any work done in the immediate term.
The promised public consultation process in regard to a longer- term solution to the vehicle access situation will commence on 20 December 2023 and will be done by mail.
With regard to a possible river cut the outcome was less clear. There is a possibility it could be done but would have to be funded by HDC. Whether there is any funding available is not clear at this stage so 50/50 at best. So don’t hold your breath, or if you want to risk swimming in the river do hold your breath.
We will make a further post once a formal response is received from HDC. It may vary slightly from the above but this is posted for information at this stage.