Board considers access to Long Beach Domain

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Concern . . . Long Beach Amenities Society president Gail Young and husband John expressed concern before Christmas at the blocking of vehicle access at Long beach Domain. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Access for vehicles to Long Beach Domain was a hot topic for residents and board members at last week’s West Harbour Community Board meeting.

Long Beach resident Paul Hansen addressed board members during a busy public forum, urging them to lobby the Dunedin City Council to reinstate vehicle access to the domain.

He recalled car boot picnics on the domain as a child, and was “saddened that it was being denied to others”.

Late last year, the Long Beach Amenities Society raised concerns when vehicle access to Long Beach Domain was blocked by Dunedin City Council under the reserves and beaches and freedom camping bylaws.

Mr Hansen said blocking access may have improved his own quality of life, as a resident, but he felt “saddened” that access had been denied to others.

His presentation prompted questions from board members, with Duncan Eddy asking if giving a key to the Long Beach Amenities Society would help the situation, and Trevor Johnson asking if there were noticeably fewer people using the domain – the answer to both questions was yes.

In later discussion of the issue, Mr Johnson said “I absolutely believe people should have sensible vehicle access to the Long Beach Domain”.

Options for access were discussed, including having a key available, opening the gates during the day and closing them at night. The board agreed to continue to seek ways to resolve the issue.

Aramoana League representatives Vicki Wilson and John Davis spoke about some issues for the area, including the Civil Defence Aramoana response plan, speed humps at Te Ngaru, drainage in the area, and tree planting.

Mr Davis said the group was struggling to get traction on the need for toilets to be installed at Aramoana, and asked about the best method to communicate with the board and council on this issue.

Board members suggested the possibility of establishing a specific liaison person between the board and the league.

Aramoana Conservation Trust representative Bradley Curnow had good news for the board, saying the hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin colony at Aramoana had had a successful summer so far, with three chicks surviving.

Three sea lion pups, two females and one male, were also resident in the area with their mothers, which was very pleasing, Mr Curnow said.

‘We have been out talking with dog owners and advocating for the sea lions, and that has been mostly positive,” he said.

West Harbour resident Kilda Northcott flourished a large bag of cigarette butts, as she urged the board to lobby for more “butt bins” in Port Chalmers.

She had raised the issue a year ago, and felt that not enough had been done to remedy the situation.

“When you walk around, the number of cigarette butts is appalling – I just want something to happen.”

The board awarded $1000 to the Long Beach Amenities Society towards the placement of an AED defibrillator at the Long Beach Community Hall, with the proviso that there must be easy access to it.