Changes to how Kāpiti’s beaches are managed will come into effect on 1 June 2021 following the adoption of the 2021 District Council Beach Bylaw.
Mayor K Gurunathan says the changes are aimed at making the beach safer for all beachgoers, particularly as the Kāpiti Coast continues to see more people move to the district.
Changes in beach laws
There are a number of changes to the Bylaw; some are minor technical updates and others are more significant. These include:
1. Lowering the minimum infringement offence fine from $750 to $150 for driving on a beach where you are not permitted. The Police are the enforcement authority for moving vehicle offences and this fine is more aligned to other fines they issue.
2. Establishing parking restrictions on the beaches where people are not permitted to drive. This will deter people from driving and then parking on the beach where they are not permitted. Council Compliance Officers are warranted to issue fines to vehicles breaching these parking restrictions.
The Mayor says: “Driving on beaches has been prohibited or limited to specific areas for many years through our local Bylaw and also through Greater Wellington Regional Council rules. Unfortunately a few people continue to ignore these rules and compromise public safety.
“As Kāpiti continues to grow – with an expected 30,000 people set to add to our current 55,000 over the next 30 years – our public spaces are becoming busier. What worked in the past does not necessarily work today so changes have been made.
“The decision to adopt the Bylaw comes after a…consultation process and we thank the public for its input.”
Environmental Standards manager Jacquie Muir says safety comes first in the public spaces.
“These additions to the Bylaw will make it easier for Police and Council staff to manage the rules,” Ms Muir says.
“Council’s primary role on the beach is public safety. We need to take steps to limit the risks posed by having vehicles on the beach, while balancing accessibility for legitimate users of the beach.”
Council is also considering other operational measures to improve safety through its Long-term Plan 2021-41 process.
The updated Bylaw also includes new rules about longline fishing systems which will see some restrictions in place over summer months.
“These changes are all about safety,” Ms Muir says. “Long line fishing rigs are an awesome way to catch fish, but as they become more popular we’re seeing some issues with swimmers and lines.
“The new rules will see some restrictions at popular swimming areas during the peak season, and some requirements about making sure you’re well signposted when fishing.”
Visit www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/beachbylaw for more information.