In November 2021 some people submitted to Horowhenua District Council a Petition for vehicle access to Waikawa Beach. The HDC then decided to engage consultants (Boffa Miskell) to produce
a full report on all options in respect of beach access at Waikawa Beach.
On 06 September 2023 a presentation was made to Councillors with findings. The 1 hour long workshop is available on a recorded livestream (the Waikawa Beach portion begins at 1 hour 52 minutes from the start of the livestream).
Here is the PDF of the presentation: Presentation on Waikawa Beach Vehicle Access 6th September 2023 (6.8 MB PDF). I recommend watching the workshop though to see and hear questions from those attending and explanations from the presenting team. See also my notes below.
The Council's next General Meeting will be on 13 October 2023. At that meeting Councillors will decide on Next Steps, which could include going out to the wider community for further consultation.
One option presented to the Council is to have no vehicle access to the beach at all. Five other options for access were presented, with comments on each:
- Access across what is currently the footbridge.
- Access via Council owned land between 47 and 49 Manga Pirau Street.
- The current access at the end of Manga Pirau Street.
- Access via the pedestrian track at 10 Reay Mackay Grove.
- Access via the pedestrian track at 60 Reay Mackay Grove.
The study seems to have looked at plant species but not considered the birdlife. This was alluded to a couple of times and acknowledged with
[avifauna] not enough work done and needs more detailed ecological impact assessment.
Strong opposition from Strathnaver residents to the Reay Mackay Grove options was mentioned several times.
Cr Rogan queried how so many could have signed the petition yet there was such strong opposition. He asked for an unredacted version of the petition so he could look into this. He has also since been informed that the petition was not publicised and did not seek signatures from Strathnaver residents.
At least one Councillor commented on the long-term damage done (not just physically) by the unauthorised track that was cut in 2018 across private land by a disgruntled resident.
A couple of Councillors raised the topic of a Horowhenua-wide beach access policy or bylaw.
It was pointed out that there is money already budgeted to repair the current footbridge but the bridge has been found to need much more extensive work even to continue to function as a pedestrian bridge. Converting the bridge to carry vehicles would be prohibitively expensive.
The Constraints Summary chart at the start of this post shows the most green (or the least orange and red) for the current access way. That is also the cheapest option, especially if the Council decide to not engage in river cutting.