Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has been urged to deal with car drivers and motorcyclists who commit offences on the beaches at Waikanae and Paraparaumu.
(Although Mid-Central Police have promised to patrol beaches north of Waikanae, Wellington Police have not done likewise for Waikanae and Paraparaumu)
So now Kāpiti’s Mayor, K Gurunathan, has written to Commissioner Coster, saying:
“I am writing … to ask for more support from the Road Policing Team to effectively manage motor vehicles and motorbikes driving and riding on beaches — and committing driving offences on Kāpiti beaches.
“I am further requesting that Police consider introducing a statistical location code that enables offences occurring on the beach to be coded to the ‘beach’ to better identify locations of offences.”
“Kāpiti Coast District is seeing an increase in cars and motor bikes being driven/ridden in restricted areas; an increase in complaints relating to manner of driving offences; and an increase in anti-social behaviour of those drivers/riders illegally driving on the beach.
“This is compromising public health and safety.”
KCDC’s reason for restrictions
The Mayor says the reason the Kāpiti Coast DistrictCouncil (KCDC) restricts motor vehicles on parts of the beach, sets speed limits in vehicle permitted areas, and prohibits all motor bikes from the beach is to protect the health and safety of the community.
The restricted areas exist because they are high-use areas reserved for pedestrians and others who want to recreate safely.
“The existing Beach Bylaw (currently being reviewed) and the proposed Beach Bylaw set the rules around vehicle restrictions,” he says.
“This is like the Speed Limit Bylaw where the rules are created by local Council but enforced by Police through the Land Transport Act and accompanying Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations.”
The Mayor’s evidence to support his letter.
- ‘Council received 120 complaints this year through the Service Request system about cars/motor bikes generally driving in a dangerous manner, at speed, inconsiderate and/or in breach of vehicle restricted areas in the Beach Bylaw. We believe this statistic is an under representation of the actual issue.
- ‘Council Compliance Officers report that during regular beach patrols they are seeing many people riding/driving on the beach compromising public health and safety.
- ‘Council is also receiving correspondence through the Chief Executive and Mayor’s Office from the community.
- ‘During public consultation with the community on the review of the current Beach Bylaw Council staff received feedback from the community expressing anger and frustration about the ongoing use of motor vehicles and motor bikes on the beach, the speed and manner of driving and also anti-social aggressive behaviours. Many members stated through consultation that Police and Council are not doing enough to prevent the escalating issues and they are no longer able to enjoy the beach.
- ‘Recently I witnessed a rider on an off-road motorbike on Otaki beach. A member of the public drew the rider’s attention to a seal basking in the sun, the rider intentionally proceeded to do wheel spins circling and traumatising the seal.’
He says over the past few years Council has collaborated with Police. Recently staff met with Otaki Police, Kāpiti Police and the Road Policing Sergeant and Senior Sergeant to highlight the escalating hazards. Council staff sought more support from the Road Policing Manager in dealing wityh complaints ( as Police would if they were occurring on local road, highway, or expressway ).
Council staff also met the Response Manager at the Police Digital Centre, the This was beneficial as staff were able to provide some context to the current issues.
The Council had been receiving complaints from customers who had called Police to report driving offences on the beach, but were being redirected to call Council because the driving offence was occurring on the beach.
Council staff also enquired about obtaining statistical information from Police of reported incidents including driving offences on the beach to contribute to a more robust review of the Beach Bylaw. This request did identify the complexity of obtaining statistics that directly related to the beach as a location.
“Recently staff worked with stakeholders including Police to draft a Statement of Proposal and draft Beach Bylaw. As part of this review Council has included operational proposals to support rules to prevent and/or reduce demand caused by manner of driving offences in vehicle restricted areas.,” says Mr Gurunathan.
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to restrict motorcycle access. A list of those operational proposals can be found in the link to the review of the Beach Bylaw below. Please see some of the relevant operational proposals:
- The installation of barrier arms and crime prevention cameras at Kāpiti Boat Club (Paraparaumu) and Waikanae Boat Club to restrict motor vehicle access while providing for boat launch and retrieve and disabled parking.
- Proposal to close of north Manly Street boat launch and retrieve accessway as it is often used by motor vehicles accessing the beach in restricted areas.
- To install vehicle restricting barriers in relevant parts of Te Horo.
- Improved signage across the District
- Specify an infringement offence amount of $150.00 for breach of the Beach Bylaw. The current Bylaw did not specify any amount, therefore under the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulation it defaulted to $750.00. Police stated this was an unreasonable amount and were reluctant to issue the fines.
- Introduce parking infringement offences for vehicles that are stationary but parked in restricted areas enabling Council staff to have some enforcement capacity.