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Community Responds To Draft East Coast Beach Vehicle Bylaw

One hundred and ninety people had their say on the draft East Coast Beach Vehicle Bylaw, with the submission period now closed.

Council Strategic Planner, Sarah Edmonds says the submission period provided a chance for everyone to be heard on the proposal.

“Of the submissions received 110 or 58 percent supported the current draft bylaw while 79 or 39 percent opposed it. Five submissions, or three per cent were neutral,” Mrs Edmonds said.

“Of those opposing the bylaw, 15 wanted to see the status quo remain, while 58 submitters requested Council allow all-terrain vehicles with restrictions. These include using signs and education, nominating routes below the mean high water mark and introducing speed restrictions. Controlling users and types of vehicles, using a code of practice or exempting those that are gathering food or fishing, were also suggested as alternatives to a full ban,” she said.

A hearings panel consisting of two independent commissioners and a councillor will soon be established to consider the submissions and listen to the 46 submitters who wish to be heard, before making final recommendations to Council.

The draft bylaw proposes to prohibit motor vehicles on the beach between the Awatere and Waima (Ure) river mouths, with a few exemptions. The aim is to improve public safety and enable habitat restoration and protection of the area’s many threatened and at-risk species.

The East Coast is known for its wide-ranging values from recreation and commercial fishing to ecological and cultural significance. Following the 7.8-magnitude Kaikōura earthquake in late 2016, this stretch of the East Coast became much more accessible, as the seabed lifted and wide new expanses of beach and exposed reefs were created. In places where access was previously restricted, it became possible to walk or drive at any time. The damage caused by the earthquake, coupled with increased motor vehicle access, has led to mounting pressure on the area’s unique ecosystems.

You can read the submissions at: https://data.marlborough.govt.nz/EastCoastSubmissions2021 or to find out more about the draft bylaw visit: www.marlborough.govt.nz/your-council/bylaws/proposed-east-coast-beach-vehicle-bylaw

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