Monday, July 15, 2024

Calls for driver caution on Waimārama Beach ahead of long weekend

Hastings District Council has joined with Police and local residents to call on people to stick to the rules and respect others at Waimārama Beach, in light of escalating issues with reckless driving on the beach in recent months.

Council has a by-law that bans driving on the beach in an area in front of the surf club from 8am to 8pm from Labour weekend until April 1.

Driving at speeds over 20km/h on any part of the beach, however, is illegal at all times.

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said the community was concerned about people’s
safety.

“The community has had enough of this behaviour and we want to support them in whatever way we can,” she said.

“We are installing additional signage from this weekend to remind everyone of the rules, and we ask people from this weekend, and through the busy summer months, to take care, drive carefully on the parts of the beach where driving is allowed, abide by the 20km/h speed limit and to not drive on the dunes due to the fact they are sensitive natural habitats.”

Resident Richard Gaddum is one of a number of locals who had seen dangerous incidents recently that put people and families walking on the beach in danger.

“We’ve had dirt bikes, some driving in groups of six to eight at a time, speeding up and down the beach with no regard to others wanting to enjoy the beach,” he said.

“Equally, there’s been four-wheel drive vehicles driving dangerously on the beach and in the sand dunes. People should not be driving on the dunes as they are home to fragile plant and animal species.

“We’ve also seen people driving at speeds of up to 100 km/h on the beach.

“The issue has been particularly bad lately, but it is an ongoing, unrelenting problem and as a community we are calling for all vehicles to be banned on the whole beach at all times – it’s just too unsafe as it is at the moment.”

He said that with the busy long weekend coming up, concerned locals wanted to express how important it was that people stuck to the rules and behaved safely so others could enjoy the beach.

“In co-operation with Hastings District Council the beach access at Tiakitai Road will be blocked to prevent these issues from escalating further and to keep beach goers safe.”

In light of holiday-makers heading to the beach this weekend, Police will have a presence in the area, and the community is encouraged to call 111 if they see any dangerous driving behaviour, or call 105 to report it afterwards.

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