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Vehicles on beaches – tougher approach

MEDIA RELEASE

Vehicles on beaches – Environment Bay of Plenty ready to take tougher approach

For immediate release: Wednesday 28 May 2008

Environment Bay of Plenty is prepared to take a tough line against vehicles on the region’s beaches if safety becomes an issue.

There are 259kms of open coast to enjoy in the Bay of Plenty with people travelling from all over the country to enjoy the beaches at favourite holiday spots including Mount Maunganui, Ohope and Waihi.

But Environment Bay of Plenty Chairman John Cronin is concerned residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of these beaches could be curtailed by people driving on them.

“Beaches are an invaluable part of our regional identity and a part of our kiwi lifestyle here in the Bay of Plenty. However, our enjoyment of long uninterrupted stretches of sand is restricted and the safety of our residents and visitors at risk if people do not drive responsibly on our beaches,” Mr Cronin said.

“We have tried to educate people about their responsibilities when driving on the beach and raise awareness of the safety issues. However, if drivers do not step up then we are prepared to work in partnership with our local councils and take a tougher approach to vehicles on beaches,” added Mr Cronin.

The Bay of Plenty beaches also feature fragile dunes, which have an essential job to do in protecting our coast. Without the dunes, waves erode the beach and the land at a much faster rate. Homes have more sand blown onto them. Storm surges and possibly tsunami are more likely to damage homes.

They also provide habitats for several endangered species of plants, birds and animals.

If you are a driver:
• stick to the authorised access points onto beaches if you need to drive onto the beach;
• stay off the sand dunes;
• follow the road code and the bylaws;
• look out for other beach users; and
• drive carefully as your safety is important too.


ENDS


NB:
The Bay of Plenty has 688 km of coast, including open coast, harbours and estuaries. This includes 259km of open coast (both rocky and sandy).

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