Beaches are neither racetracks nor skidpans

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Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Alasdair Morrison. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

The Voice column: Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Alasdair Morrison

It is nice that, with the shortest day well behind us, we can get out in the garden or go for a walk in the late afternoon without turning blue with the cold.

Winter has not really hit us (yet) and soon it will be spring.

At this time of year, we have folk venturing out to the beaches for a stroll or taking the dog for a walk (on a leash).

We have some beautiful beaches along the north coast: Doctors Point, Warrington, Karitane and Waikouaiti – great places for recreational activities. But they are also great places for the little communities that live beneath the sand, usually with protective shells around them. They are a part of the wonderful ecosystem that abounds in our great country.

It is sad that there are some unthinking, or unknowing, or just plain ignorant people who do their part in destroying this ecosystem. These are people who treat our beaches like racetracks or skidpans as they take their 4WDs out for a bit of “fun”.

There is a city council bylaw that seeks to protect our beaches and their ecosystems. The objective of the Reserves and Beaches Bylaw 2017 is to define the limits of permitted activities within Dunedin City Council reserve and beach spaces in order to preserve access, user enjoyment and wellbeing, and limit adverse effects of human activity on the natural environment.

Vehicles are not permitted on our beaches (apart from launching boats) and appropriate signage is being prepared and erected at all of the DCC beaches to provide advice about what is, and is not, appropriate at these special spaces.

But we do need your help.

Nobody likes to be a “snitch” but, if you see a vehicle doing undesirable things on a beach, then please feel free to call the council’s customer service agency on (03) 477-4000 with advice about where, when, what and a registration number. The council’s parks and recreation department will appreciate your assistance.

Beaches are special places – above and below the sand.

They are neither racetracks nor skidpans.