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Howick Beach reef off-limits to vehicles

Howick Beach reef off-limits to vehicles

Concerns over possible reef damage caused by vehicles on Howick Beach has led to the Auckland Regional Council and Manukau City Council calling the reef off-limits to vehicles.

Howick Community Board chairman Alan La Roche raised community concerns about possible damage to the reef from vehicles with both councils.

Officers from the councils met last week at Howick Beach to discuss the effects of the growing numbers of four wheel drive vehicles launching their boats off the reef at the north-west end of the beach.

Unlike the sandy parts of the beach, the reef supports seaweed and shellfish which can be damaged by vehicles. The reef has been increasingly used by vehicles to launch boats at low tide.

“The impacts of vehicles are that they are likely to cause damage to the reef and the sensitive marine life living on it. Under both ARC and Manukau City rules, people should avoid damaging the coastal marine area so we are declaring the reef off-limits to vehicles,” said ARC Coastal Manager Hugh Leersnyder.

The councils will erect signs at the two boat ramps on the beach to show people where they can launch their boats. Vehicles can be used on the sandy parts of the beach for launching boats.

The councils encourage locals who see people driving over the reef to report vehicle registration numbers of offending vehicles. In the first instance people who are dobbed in will be sent a letter advising them that driving on the reef is not permitted.

“We advise people to call Manukau City Council on (09) 262 5104 to report vehicles on the reef,” said Allister Clegg, local Parks Field Officer. “The increased usage of this popular recreational asset has highlighted the inevitable detrimental effects on the reef. We advise boaties wishing to launch at low tide to cease the practice of launching off the reef and to use the centre of the beach.”

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