The Council has put up new signs at Paraparaumu Beach in an effort to stop people driving in prohibited zones.
The signs have been placed at the boat launching area of the beach to make it clearer that people should avoid driving there unless launching or retrieving a boat. More signs are planned for beaches in the rest of the district.
“This action is part of our campaign to educate the public about where they can and can’t drive on the beach and follows an increase in complaints about people driving in prohibited areas putting the safety of other beach users at risk,” says Council’s Environmental Standards Manager Jacquie Muir.
“We’ve also carried out joint patrols with the Police during the summer months to educate people about where they are and aren’t permitted to drive, and done a lot of awareness-raising through our Facebook page, e-newsletter, website and via the media.”
“We plan to continue our campaign with more patrols next summer when our beaches are highly populated and more education of beach safety through a range of channels,” Ms Muir says.
The Council does not have delegated authority to enforce illegal driving on beaches. If Council officers see people offending, they talk to them about the rules in the Beach Bylaw i.e. where they are allowed to drive on the beach and where pedestrian access points are. If they offend again, the officers report them to the Police who take action as they see appropriate.
However Senior Sergeant Kāpiti Police, Chanel Chapman, says driving on beaches where prohibited is a community problem and one that can’t be resolved without help from the public.
“Beaches are community spaces and we all need to take personal responsibility to keep them safe, as well as make sure our friends and family don’t drive where they shouldn’t.”
She also encourages anyone who sees a person driving on the beach where they are not permitted to report the offence to Police or Council. This includes information such as car registration, time, date and - if not jeopardising personal safety - photos.
“We’re only talking about a few sections of our coastline where driving is prohibited unless boats are being launched or retrieved. The rule is there because those areas of the beach are used by a lot of pedestrians, swimmers and boaties. There are plenty of access points where people can park their vehicle and walk a short way onto the beach,” she says.
Maps showing accessibility points and driving zones on the beach, along with more information about vehicles on beaches, are at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/beach-safety
12 May 2017