Board rejects dune walkway

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 07:33 14/02/2013

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Kapiti Observer

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A walkway mooted for dunes in front of Waikanae beachfront properties is set to be dumped.

On Tuesday night Waikanae Community Board rejected the proposal after an outcry from affected residents.

In the public speaking session, beach resident Phil Trotter said the walkway - to run from Te Moana Rd to Hemara St - would rip a scar across a fragile environment.

"And for what? A path to nowhere?"

The walkway was proposed by the Rotary Pathways Trust and Kapiti Coast District Council staff and would be similar to the walkway around Waimea lagoons.

When announced the concept sparked stiff opposition from residents, many asking why the council was building a path in an area it tagged as at-risk from rising sea levels in its draft District Plan.

On Tuesday, Waikanae's Laurie Petherick was the lone voice in support of the proposal - saying no-one on the beachfront has the right to coastal reserves.

He said property owners have advanced onto the dunes and dumped their green waste indiscriminately on reserve land.

"Every beach owner believes they have the right to access the beach in front of their property, because they are too lazy to walk fifty or a hundred metres to a legitimate, council- provided accessway."

These unofficial accessways damaged dunes, Mr Petherick said.

Meanwhile councillor Tony Lloyd was scathing of the staff report on the path - right down to wording that described it as "interesting and intimate".

"I'm struggling to find out what an intimate walking experience is."

He said the proposal was contrary to the council's District Plan, and community aspirations to protect the dunes and foreshore.

Board members voted unanimously to recommend the council not proceed with project - the decision will be subject to approval from councillors.

At the meeting mayor Jenny Rowan said she is a member of the pathway trust, and it needs to keep developing pathways but in a way that doesn't clash with council policies.

She said the board made a very clear decision, and the council would likely respect that when it came to ratification.

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