In the public speaking section of yesterday’s council meeting — the non-agenda items part which is not broadcast, minuted or has council staff present — John Robinson repeated the message he has made on here and on the Kapiti Independent News site about the fact that many motorists, usually SUV drivers, ignore the ban on vehicles traversing the DoC-mandated Scientific Reserve.
Geoffrey and two others came along to give moral support. As there were no other speakers for the allocated half-hour, he got a more engaged reception from the Councillors/Community Board representatives present than he might have otherwise.
The primary question he had for the council was: why do you issue permits for whitebaiters to drive over the beach to the Waikanae River edge when reaching it requires driving over part of the Scientific Reserve?
In the OIA answer we got (see earlier) the council said that 16 such permits had been issued last year. But the number of complaints reported to the council about vehicles on the beach last year totalled 66. It’s a safe assumption that these complaints were only a small percentage of the actual number of vehicle-on-the-beach incidents.
Cr Buswell asked John Robinson: have you been in touch with Doc? Well, he had tried: an e-mail which was ignored; a phone call which got an automatic answering machine; another phone call to a different number on which he left a message. Someone did ring back, but he was out, the caller left a message to call, which he did, but with the same result. Even worse than the experience you get with Spark/Vodafone, it seems.
The KCDC protests that it can’t issue infringement notices for moving vehicles: only the police can do that.
The end result is that sightseers and hoons think they can ignore the law with impunity and drive all over Waikanae Beach as they please.
Cr Cardiff said that the problem wasn’t new, but it is becoming more pronounced with the number of visitors. He will follow it up. A meeting between John Robinson and Iwi representatives who have customary whitebaiting rights was proposed. What purpose this would serve wasn’t clear.
The Kapiti Independent News has been more successful in getting answers from DoC than John Robinson on the issue: these are given here