Sum­mer­time Blues

Cathe­dral Cove is a huge draw­card but hol­i­day sea­son park­ing pain is set to spur user-pays charges for Ha­hei

Coastal News - - Front Page - By ALI­SON SMITH [email protected]­news.co.nz

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 con­sul­ta­[email protected] or com­pleted and posted at area of­fices in Thames, Coro­man­del, Whi­tianga or Whanga­mata¯.

PHOTO / LEG­END PHO­TOG­RA­PHY / TCDC

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.

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