Wednesday 16 December 2015
New wheels for Foxton Volunteer Beach Wardens
The Foxton Volunteer Beach Wardens now have their own set of wheels to patrol the beach and coastal reserves, thanks to a partnership with Manawatu Estuary Trust.
The Suzuki Jimny four-wheel-drive has been purchased by the Trust using some of its own funds combined with a grant from Eastern and Central Community Trust.
Beach Wardens group coordinator Ross Brannigan says that previously the volunteers had to use their own vehicles, which was not ideal and also a barrier to people who wanted to volunteer but did not have a suitable vehicle.
Also, with the new vehicle being sign-written, Mr Brannigan says it creates a more official and visible presence.
“Our Beach Wardens fulfil a great PR role and are a point of contact for the public. They’re often approached by people seeking information, advice or other assistance.”
In preparation, the new vehicle has been kitted out with useful equipment, a first aid kit, as well as a stock of information pamphlets.
Mr Brannigan says the Beach Wardens are warranted by Horowhenua District Council to help protect the coastal reserves environment by providing monitoring and surveillance, also working in partnership with the Police.
“But, while we liaise with the Council and the Police, we’re more about education than enforcement.”
Mr Brannigan says the Beach Wardens play an important role in efforts to keep beach users safe by monitoring illegal and unruly vehicle use on the beach, which are subject to 30 kilometre-per-hour speed limit within the bylaw areas.
“We have the privilege of driving on our beaches so, to allow that to continue, it is important that we do that responsibly and safely, and we urge beach users to report irresponsible driving to the Police,” he said.
Manawatu Estuary Trust Life Member Joan Leckie says that the Beach Wardens are the “front-line guardians of the natural features at the beach and estuary”.
“We work together to ensure that the area is a safe environment and an enjoyable place for the public to walk and children to play,” she said.
The Trust’s objectives are to care for the special estuarine environment and the natural features which make the estuary a place of international importance and one of New Zealand’s six Ramsar status sites. The estuary is the summer home of a wide variety of migratory and threatened species of birds, and has long-been a drawcard for local and visiting bird watchers.
Mr Brannigan says the Beach Wardens group is always looking to recruit new volunteers to help on the roster, especially during summer.
Anyone interested should contact the Beach Wardens group secretary Bev Huston on 06 363 7545 or firstname.lastname@example.org