Are you happy with vehicles on the beach, are there good accessways, should all dogs be on a leash all year round?
Those are the kinds of questions likely to be raised as Kāpiti Coast District Council seeks community input on how our beaches are managed and protected. The input is part of a review of the council’s beach bylaw.
Later this year the council will be consulting with the community on the bylaw under the Local Government Act, which requires all council bylaws to be reviewed every 10 years. The bylaw creates the rules for council-managed areas of beach and covers a range of activities, including how people behave on the beach; dumping of litter or green waste on the beach; horse riding; harvesting sand, stones and wood; life saving; vehicles; and trading and events on the beach.
KCDC environmental standards manager Jacquie Muir says hearing from the community ahead of formal consultation will help raise any issues that might need to be addressed early in the process.
“Our beaches are a taonga and play an important part in everyone’s lives and in the district’s identity,” Jacqie says. “We already know from our service requests from the community and other feedback that there are a few issues on our beaches people are keen to see addressed, and we want to hear from others about what is working well and what could be improved.
“This will help us pull together some options and discussion points for the consultation process.”
Jacquie says in the last decade Kāpiti had seen many changes both locally and nationally that could be reflected in a revised bylaw, including a growing population and the effects of climate change.
“With more change on the horizon it’s a good time to be taking a look at how we continue to protect our coastal environment and keep our people safe – the priorities of the bylaw.”
She says all beaches and coasts are covered by a range of national, regional and local legislation or regulation and it is no different in the Kāpiti district.
“Kāpiti’s beach bylaw works with and is subject to a range of rules under transport, marine and conservation Acts, regional council regulations and customary rights provisions. The police and Fire and Emergency also play a role on New Zealand beaches.
“It’s a complex regulatory area and there are limits to what we can implement and enforce with a bylaw, but if we are going to make changes and future-proof how we care for our beach we need the input of our community.”
Residents can let the council know their thoughts on the beaches and how they are looked after by filling out a short online survey at kapiticoast.govt.nz/beachbylaw
The survey won’t be the only opportunity for the community to have its say. Information drop-in stations along the beach and other busy locations and a schedule of workshops are planned for coming weeks. More information on these events will be on KCDC’s Facebook page and at kapiticoast.govt.nz