Controversy over plan to ban vehicles from some beaches

Conservationists say ecosystems on Marlborough beaches are being damaged by vehicles driving over...
Conservationists say ecosystems on Marlborough beaches are being damaged by vehicles driving over the sand. Photo: Getty Images / File
People can now have a say on a controversial plan to ban vehicles from Marlborough beaches.

A Canterbury University research group has launched the survey to uncover the best and worst recreational activities along Marlborough's east coast.

Their findings will inform a new bylaw, which proposes banning vehicles.

Access to the east coast became easier after the Kaikōura quake in 2016 exposed more reefs.

Marlborough District Council proposed banning motorists from a 45km stretch of the coast to help protect it.

However, the council admitted data on whether vehicle use had risen was "anecdotal".

The proposed bylaw has divided the region into two camps - those who think vehicles damage ecosystems that were hit by the Kaikōura earthquake, and those who think most motorists are eco-conscious.

Canterbury University researcher Shane Orchard said the survey would plug "basic information gaps", such as how and where people used the east coast.

Vehicle access was probably among a number of activities that had changed since the earthquake exposed more of the coast, he said.

Although time frames have not yet been set, Orchard expected the survey would be open until the end of November.

Results would then be compiled and reported to the public.

A council spokeswoman said staff were consulting iwi on the issue, and hoped to complete this by next month.

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.







Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter