The meeting of the ARC Parks and Heritage Committee on 4 June was interesting to observe and although I was granted a right to speak, I was unaware that a Forest & Bird representative was given permission to follow with their views. They quoted from this website too.
The F&B attitude is to demand an immediate ban of vehicle use of Muriwai. This was agreed in principle by several Councilors but they obviously want to be re-elected and suggested that a full ban would be unpopular. The ARC have been doing a lot of lobbying and organising with other local authorities and government bodies to find ways to make life difficult for those who want to drive along Muriwai.
With the apparent fear of a backlash from the public, it was agreed by the Council to investigate an opinion poll to survey the public about vehicle use on beaches.
A committee was created to further consider the issues of vehicles.
Motorised recreation demands to be addressed
4 June 2008
The ARC has approved funding to develop a motorised recreation strategy for the Auckland region.
The strategy will look at issues that relate to motorised sport and enable the ARC to work in partnership with the regional community to identify the demands, existing provision and conflicts that this issue raises.
Deputy Chair of the ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Councillor Christine Rose says that one of the most important considerations to be made as part of this process is the effect that motorised recreation is having on our environment.
“This is a great opportunity to work with motorsport enthusiasts to try to address their needs and hopefully relieve pressure on our fragile dune ecosystems,” says Cr Rose.
At its June meeting the Parks and Heritage Committee allocated $65,000 to fund the development of the strategy.
An excerpt from an Auckland Regional Council (ARC) report in regard to vehicle use of beaches to be presented on 4 June 08 to an ARC meeting. The slanted viewpoint is unfortunate and defines the type of approach of the present mentality within the ARC. In the full report there is a note that the process is to be managed by the deputy chair of Parks and Heritage... Cr Christine Rose, a Rodney District representative with a clear agenda. In a late development, the ARC have granted speaking rights at that meeting to Peter Vahry. Muriwai is the first item on the agenda at 9.30am on 4 June.
The 30 March meeting at Muriwai was well attended by Muriwai residents but they expressed a desire to have continued vehicle access to the beach... it was why many lived there! This was obviously not what the ARC people wanted to hear...
"The public meeting was convened by the ARC in collaboration with RDC and the local police on Sunday 30 March at the Waimauku School. Cr Rose and Cr Coney attended the meeting. The aim of this meeting was three fold:
• to acknowledge the concern in the community about recent events and the implications for Muriwai Beach and Te Oneone Rangatira,
• to provide an opportunity for the community to indicate what people locally and in the region want for these beaches, and how to manage any potential conflicts,
• to enable the agencies involved in managing this area to provide information about who has responsibility for what.
Approximately 100 people attended this meeting. Based on the contribution received at the meeting, it appeared as if the largest proportion of meeting attendees were representing the rights of motorised vehicle users. Little or no contribution was made from those interested in horse riding, pedestrian access or environmental preservation and restoration. None-the-less, it proved a successful opportunity to communicate the rules around beach vehicle use, and to clarify current ownership and governance arrangements. Learnings from the meeting were that:
• The ability to drive and ride on the beach is very important to many people.• People are open to considering ways to improve the management of vehicles on beaches, such as enforcement of existing rules, introduction of a new speed limit, altering access points and better signs.• Many people are unclear about where road rules are applicable and are concerned about the consequences if these road rules were to be enforced.
• People feel that there are few accessible facilities available in the Auckland region for off-road motorised recreation."
A full copy of the report is available below.
To rub salt into the situation, the Auckland area 4WD clubs have a date set for 15 June to conduct a clean-up of the full stretch of beach. This may however provide a chance to demonstrate to the public that there is value to vehicle access onto beaches. The start time is 11.00am on Coast Rd at Muriwai and will finish by 3.00pm with a barbecue.
Muriwai REoprt June 2008.doc