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Pegasus Bay Coastal Management Plan launched

September 17, 2008

Pegasus Bay Coastal Management Plan launched

A major new environmental plan for the future management of North Canterbury’s beaches, including a ranger, and vehicle-free and vehicle-restricted areas, was unveiled today at the Waimakariri District Council.

The Northern Pegasus Bay Coastal Management Plan is the result of more than two years of consultations by a steering committee of representatives of the Waimakariri and Hurunui District Councils, Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation, community groups and residents.

“The plan is a guidebook that we’re giving to the statutory authorities for the best environmental outcomes for this section of the Canterbury coastline,” said Debbie Jefcoate, co-chair of the steering committee.

“We think it is very workable, but the statutory agencies involved will have to be prepared to take a stand and put in place the funding and by-laws to enforce the plan.

“The plan will protect and enhance the coast, and let people use the beach for their own purposes – people will be able to go to a vehicle-free area if they wish, while those who want to go and fish can access the spots by vehicle and unload their gear.

“Vehicles and horses will be restricted completely through the surf patrol zones.”
She said the appointment of a ranger was critical to the success of the plan.

“It is crucial that we have some way of monitoring, informing and educating the public about changes, until people become familiar with them.”

Jerry Stone, co-chair of the committee said the issue of vehicles on beaches was a matter of contention from the outset.

“There’s no doubt we’ve travelled a road of compromise. The polls of opinion range from zero tolerance for anything besides a human being on the beaches, to, at the other end, those who would like carte blanche for vehicles.

“It is now essential that the councils agree to contribute towards a budget which includes the establishment of a ranger for the area.”

The plan, which looks at the management of the coast from the mouth of the Waimakariri River to the Rocks north of the Waipara River, aims for a coherent strategy to achieve desired community outcomes.

“It has been put together by a local elected community committee to reflect all the issues,” said Rob Gerard, facilitator for the process, and senior resource care co-ordinator for Environment Canterbury.

The intention was to protect and enhance the Northern Pegasus Bay coastal environment. “This plan goes further than many other coastal plans and has overarching aims and specific recommendations for each section of the coastline. It covers everything from protection and enhancement of the environment to motor vehicles on the beaches and in the estuaries, to access for whitebaiters, to dogs, horses, walkways, and facilities such as boardwalks.

“It gives the councils a clear steer as to what their communities think about the future management of the North Pegasus coastline. Everything in it has been well-debated; there’s been a comprehensive canvassing of views, and extensive consultation,” he said.

“It’s all about the best management of the coastline for the future.”

The plan recommends a motor vehicle permit system applies to everyone using motor vehicles on the beaches, and that there is a vehicle-free zone from Woodend Beach to Waikuku Beach.

The councils are being asked to receive the plan and to form a working party, including local iwi and the Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust, to investigate its financing and implementation. By-law and district plan changes will be necessary to achieve some of its recommendations.

ENDS

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