A blocked vehicle track to the beach at Warrington was not
closed using the proper legal process, lawyers have advised,
but the authorities want the road to stay closed anyway.
The road at the corner of Bank and Bay Rds has divided the
small seaside settlement since it was closed in 2008 because
of concern the narrow track was unsafe for vehicle use and
contributed to damage to the road reserve and coastal dunes.
A recent survey by the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board,
instigated following a request from some community members to
have the road reopened, revealed people were still split on
The board asked the Dunedin City Council to consider keeping
the track closed to vehicles and the council's subsequent
legal advice found ''the correct process was not followed to
implement the permanent restriction on vehicles using the
track to access the beach'', a report due to be considered by
the council's infrastructure services committee tomorrow
But council officers still had concerns about the track's
The council's senior traffic engineer was worried about the
steepness of the track, lack of traction, lack of visibility,
lack of separation between vehicles and vulnerable road users
and historic/likely parking habits.
Police and the Ministry of Transport agreed the track should
remain closed to vehicles until those safety concerns were
The use of motor vehicles in an area of significant
conservation value was also not supported by the council's
reserves and recreation planning department unless any likely
environmental impacts were assessed and mitigated.
If the track was reopened to vehicles without providing
adequate surface protection, any deep rutting (as had
previously happened) might damage new optic fibre cable laid
under the track, transportation policy engineer Jon Visser
The track would also need to be widened as vegetation had
The council already provided safe access to the beach for
vehicles and parking at the Warrington recreation reserve,
about 650m from the track, Mr Visser said.
The most appropriate course of action was for councillors to
authorise a temporary vehicle closure of the track while
other options were investigated, he said. That would include
whether it was possible to bring the track up to council's
required standards and how much that would cost.
If councillors decided it was not feasible to reopen the road
a permanent restriction could be imposed through a bylaw
process, which would be publicly consulted on, he said.