Good and bad at the Waikanae Estuary
By Roger Childs
In an article we published on August 20, the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Environmental Standards Manager, Jacquie Muir, announced that people would in future be forbidden to drive over the Waikanae Sandspit.
Regular KIN readers will be familiar with the articles written by Waikanae resident John Robinson on this issue. He was a key figure in getting belated action taken on this important coastal issue.
As Ms Muir observed we need to keep people safe while they’re walking on the beach and to protect important coastal ecology.
The main targets are whitebaiters who over the years have been given permits to ride wherever they like and illegally fish in the Scientific Reserve.
All good? No!
The Kapiti Observer in last week’s issue had local identity and whitebaiter, Chris Turver, crying foul. He referred to elderly whitebaiters having to drag their gear about a kilometre across the sand.
Two points of accuracy Chris:
- You are not allowed to whitebait on the sandspit because it is a Department of Conservation Scientific Reserve.
- From the parking area at the end of Tutere Street in Waikanae Beach it is about 150m, at the most, to the Waikanae River where whitebaiting is permitted.
So are people still being allowed to whitebait on the sand spit?
Then there is the question of how serious is KCDC and the Greater Wellington Regional Council about banning whitebaiters
from driving on the beach? The Observer article implied that the ban would be enforced.
But Ms Muir said in her press release that Council hasn’t stopped issuing permits to whitebaiters along the Kāpiti Coast.
Who are these lucky people who are getting the permits?
Obviously Chris Turver is not one of them.
The situation is even more confusing. DOC do allow whitebaiting in the Scientific Reserve as whitebait are defined as not fish. While this is what I have been told, it seems too daft to be true. Can some-one either correct me or back this up?
The latest signs introduce some clarity. DOC says they are the only authority for the Scientific Reserve and vehicles are banned – all vehicles. All we need to do is to support DOC officers. It the whitebaiters with Chris Turver as their spokesman intend to follow the rules, as he has written, then they will keep their vehicles off the Scientific Reserve.