Council addresses concerns about Beachlands
12 June 2008
Council addresses concerns about Beachlands-Maraetai coastal walkway
Manukau City Council is progressing work on Beachlands-Maraetai coastal walkway, and is aware of concerns raised by some groups of people.
The council would like to reassure Manukau residents that this project has been developed after wide-ranging consultation with local communities and stakeholders. Connecting parks and communities is a key objective in Making Connections - A Strategy for Manukau's Parks into the Future*1.
The coastal area is a popular destination for many tourists and residents from city areas. The proposed 160m walkway is being laid along coastal parkland which is already being used by people to walk.
A number of people use the existing informal walkway, says Digby Whyte, group manager for Manukau Parks. “Locals can find the walkway, but other walkers can’t. The formalisation of the walkway will provide usability by a greater number of people – locals and visitors alike. Walking is increasingly becoming a recreation option and the concrete path will provide for push chairs, wheel chairs, runners and cyclists.”
Importantly the walkway will provide a safe and scenic, non-vehicular connection between the coastal communities of Beachlands and Maraetai, the popular Te Puru Community Centre, and the transport node at Pine Harbour. The walkway and associated landscaping will also assist in protecting foreshore from erosion.
After initial consultation the Clevedon Community Board approved the concept plan on 8 August 2005 on the basis that Manukau Parks and a Board working party would consult further and report back any changes to the route.
As part of its consultation, the council conducted surveys, organised an open day at Te Puru Community Centre, put up signs on site, published invitations in Manukau Matters, and added information on its website. Also, there were numerous articles in local media. The concept plans*2 for the proposed walkway were displayed at Te Puru for a period of time.
The Board working party considered input from the meetings, survey and individuals and groups submitting ideas. No significant alterations to the route were recommended. Though one resident group requested the Maraetai Beach section be removed or re-routed inland in favour of existing park users, this was considered counter to the obvious route walkway users would want to take. Other requests, such as keeping the Tracey’s Walk section in shell were supported.
While there were no changes to the route requiring further Board approval, the level of interest in the removal or retention of the park drive within the Omana Beach Reserve section warranted special consideration. As the democratic representative of local communities, the Board considered the consultation and park use requirements and determined the park drive, largely used as a through-road was in conflict with the recreational use of the park and safety of park users. This determination was reconsidered in the light of a petition and following a survey of vehicle use and reconfirmed on both occasions.
Implementation of the walkway began in early June. Commenting on reported concerns that the community was not informed about the overall outcome of consultation, Dr Whyte says, “Because the initial concept plan remained substantially unchanged, it was redundant for the working party to report back to the Board. However, after two-and-a-half years of consultation with not all of those consulted receiving feedback, it is understandable that not everyone had realised the walkway route remained unchanged”.