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East Coast protection bylaw process underway

Marlborough District Council is beginning the process to consult the public on a bylaw protecting the coastline around Cape Campbell, between the Waima/Ure and Awatere river mouths.

The issue was discussed at the Planning, Finance and Community Committee on 28 November and the approach agreed by the full Council on 12 December 2019.

The Kaikōura earthquake dramatically uplifted 110 km of Marlborough’s East Coast in November 2016, raising it by up to 2.5 metres in the area between the Awatere and Waima/Ure rivers.

Councillor Gerald Hope, who is Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee, says the uplift caused the high tide mark to shift by as much as 200 metres, leaving much more beach and shoreline exposed.

“Before the earthquake, vehicle access to this area was virtually impossible and restricted by the tides, but after 14 November 2016 it became possible to drive along the coast at almost any time. The popularity of the area has increased as a result, and vehicles are unfortunately having a significant effect on the landscape and the seals, bird colonies, reptiles and rare plants that inhabit what was previously remote wilderness.”

“People have brought their concerns about the environmental impact of motor vehicles along the coast to the Council.”

“If uncontrolled motor vehicle access continues, there could be long-term consequences for the natural landscape, biodiversity and the safety of the public,” Councillor Hope says.

A draft bylaw will be prepared and taken to the Planning, Finance and Community Committee. This is expected to be adopted at either the February or March full Council meeting, with submissions opening in March or April for a period of one month’s consultation. After public input, it would then go to a hearing with appointed commissioners, and come into force later this year.

For further information please go to https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/your-council/meetings?item=id:23x4qq03x17q9s2b6pvq to read “Marlborough’s East Coast – Technical Report,” and also an ‘issues and options’ report.

Newshub recently covered this issue; see: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/12/vehicle-access-to-marlborough-s-cape-campbell-could-be-mostly-closed-off-by-next-year.html

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