Coro­man­del packs in vis­i­tors

Coastal News - - News - By ALI­SON SMITH

A record sum­mer sea­son of vis­i­tors is pre­dicted with the good and the bad of it boost­ing char­i­ta­ble causes, keep­ing hos­pi­tal­ity staff run off their feet and caus­ing one way bridge queue­ing chaos on nu­mer­ous days in the town of Tairua.

Beaches were packed as a string of sunny days and surf pro­vided the per­fect hol­i­day can­vas, but the heat drew hol­i­day­mak­ers not only to the beaches but in­land to swim­ming holes and bush des­ti­na­tions.

“We’re in for a record sum­mer sea­son,” says Hadley Dry­den, Des­ti­na­tion Coro­man­del gen­eral man­ager

He says tourism providers ex­pect avail­abil­ity for ac­com­mo­da­tion may free up a lit­tle this week on­wards for those keen to make the most of sum­mer.

New World Whanga­mata owner Neville Singh says staff en­sured the su­per­mar­ket coped with the in­crease in cus­tomers who, on the busiest days, queued to the very back of the store.

“It was one of the busiest we’ve had,” he says. “We track num­bers but I haven’t got them yet. There were a lot of peo­ple in town. It’s be­gin­ning to slow, it’s busy but not crazy now.”

Thames-coro­man­del Dis­trict Coun­cil is gaug­ing num­bers of vis­i­tors from waste­water and water usage and get­ting anec­do­tal re­ports of a bumper sea­son from busi­ness asso­ciations. Their last peak pop­u­la­tion sur­vey was done two years ago and these fig­ures are sup­ple­mented by re­ports from Des­ti­na­tion Coro­man­del and oth­ers.

An anec­do­tal re­port will be re­leased later this week.

Prescott’s Garage at the SH25 turnoff junc­tion be­tween Whanga­mata, Pauanui and Tairua ran out of petrol and driv­ers had to be shep­herded off the main high­way where they were queued to fill up.

But run­ning out of petrol was not the biggest prob­lem for owner Bill Prescott, whose garage toi­lets are the real at­trac­tion.

Bill’s ap­peal for as­sis­tance with the sep­tic tank pump­ing has so far fallen on deaf ears at the Thames-coro­man­del Dis­trict coun­cil’s Tairu­a­pauanui com­mu­nity board. With 3500 gal­lons of water go­ing through the toi­lets in just four days, he has closed them at 6pm and the ev­i­dence of cus­tomers’ des­per­a­tion in stacked tyres out the back of the garage is test­ing his pa­tience.

“The toi­let is ab­so­lutely not cop­ing. If we don’t do some­thing, we may be forced to shut them down. It’s ba­si­cally the first set of toi­lets af­ter Bom­bay.”

For char­i­ties and schools, the busy sea­son of vis­i­tors was a boon to fundrais­ing ef­forts.

Tairua School Wine and Food Fes­ti­val, which fea­tured the Jor­dan Luck Band as head­lin­ing act, drew record num­bers and raised tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. Sim­i­lar events held in Cooks Beach and When­u­akite will boost the cof­fers of schools along the Coro­man­del’s east coast.

The Auck­land Res­cue He­li­copter and Coro­man­del Res­cue He­li­copter were kept busy with nu­mer­ous daily mis­sions in and around the Coro­man­del and Whanga­mata CRV GJ Gard­ner Coast­guard clocked up 78 hours in the ca­pa­ble hands of vol­un­teers who were called upon to res­cue and re­turn boat­ies safely to port in the month of De­cem­ber.

On two oc­ca­sions last month, coast­guard vol­un­teers had to tow yachts that had gone aground or suf­fered en­gine fail­ure.

On Satur­day, crew helped a man in his 70s suf­fer­ing a med­i­cal con­di­tion. He was flown to Thames Hospi­tal in a mod­er­ate con­di­tion.

State High­way 25 at Tairua was backed up for sev­eral hours on nu­mer­ous days through­out the hol­i­day pe­riod.

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