Cathedral Cove is a huge drawcard but holiday season parking pain is set to spur user-pays charges for Hahei
Hahei could become a pay-to-visit beach under controversial parking bylaws, which are now open for feedback.
Monday is the final day to have a say on a proposed bylaw change by Thames-coromandel District Council that will effectively prevent any free visitor parking in streets in the town.
The coastal village receives 320,000 visitors a year to the natural attraction of Cathedral Cove. The council wants to expand a carpark at the entrance to town to cater for 500 cars, and charge parking fees to fund it.
A ban on parking on streets in the town would apply from October 1 to April 30 each year.
During these months, it is estimated that it will cost between $8 and $10 to park at the council’s newly expanded pay and display carpark, and similar to park at the beach.
A further two options being explored by TCDC include allowing residents to park one car on the street, or clearing all residential streets of cars with no exemptions for residents.
TCDC policy and planning manager Scott Summerfield says anyone can have their say.
Local resident Graham Harsant is among those who have done so.
“A summer tourism bubble is not just a Hahei problem but something that’s happening around New Zealand and the world,” he says.
“It doesn’t help that much if the marketing is focused towards Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach — just look at the council’s own website.
“If the growth in tourism continues to create issues nationally then DOC may need to explore more ways to manage numbers, similar to the increased charge for overseas tourists for the Great Walks.”
Hahei Residents and Ratepayers Association vicechairman John North says it’s taken 10 years of talks to get to the proposal, however they are not in favour of yellow “no stopping” lines and signage on the streets.
He said the ultimate goal was to create a village where people walk, not drive around looking for a place to park.
“People end up walking 50m to 500m away from the beach, which is a concern to property owners.
“This is a serious problem and we need to get serious about solutions,” Mr North says.
Thames-coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie says the council’s decision will come down to the quality of submissions from the public.
Similar proposals would only be considered for other areas if similar problems arose.
“The problem of congested streets and car-crammed berms is ongoing in some pockets around the Coromandel where there are high visitor numbers, but not to the extent that is experienced around Hahei.
“However, parking charges will not be applied to any other part of the district without going through a full public consultation process as it has to be driven by the community.”
■ The bylaw can be read and submitted online at www.haveyoursaytcdc.objective.com, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or completed and posted at area offices in Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga or Whangamata¯.
The verges of Pa Rd, Hahei are packed soild with holidaymakers’ vehicles in summer.
The entrance to the Hahei Beach carpark is a mass of moving and parked vehicles during the summer holiday season.