On Friday 04 December 2020 the Police attended a red car sunk in the Waikawa Stream at the river mouth. It had been there for around 24 hours. See The perils of driving on the beach for details.
It was a week of high sea alerts, rough weather, high tides and plenty of rain. For days the car roof could be seen, if you knew where to look and the tide was low enough. Otherwise, there was no way to see it.
Meanwhile the Miraz Jordan from the WBRA Committee corresponded with Horizons Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, asking about the pollution and safety hazards. It seemed unlikely there would be any way to remove the wrecked car without also losing a digger to soft sand and river.
Finally though on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 the tides dropped, the skies cleared and the sun came out warm, and Horowhenua District Council sent a digger and a ute and trailer to remove the car from the beach.
Work started around 3.30 pm, going pretty smoothly and easily. By about 3.45 the digger was carrying the car across the river to the trailer. Woohoo!
On Friday 04 December 2020 at around 8 am the police arrived to check out this car submerged at the river mouth.
A chap in waders had as good a look as he could and it seems no-one is inside. Police say the car was seen here at 0630 on Thursday, 03 December 2020, but not before. It’s sunk a bit since then. Police are reporting the car to Horowhenua District Council who may choose to remove it.
The number plates are submerged so Police can’t confirm if the car was stolen or find out who it belongs to.
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.
It seems the river changed course back in February and is not about to move seaward again. Since Ex Tropical Cyclone Gita it runs very close to the properties at the end of Manga Pirau Street, and it looks as though the vehicle entrance to the beach will not be able to be restored.
As a result the Association has approached both Horowhenua District Council and Horizons Regional Council with the aim of achieving a sustainable and usable vehicle entrance.
We’re hoping to organise a public meeting with representatives of the two Councils and other parties in order to find a resolution.
We’ll update everyone as soon as we can.
Please discuss the vehicle access with others and think about questions and comments for a public meeting. We’re looking for constructive ideas, in particular. We welcome comments below that will help move the project forward.