Vehicles of various kinds are joy riding along Stanmore Bay Beach, causing anxiety for beach goers. This sign at Stanmore Bay appears to be easy for drivers to ignore as they head past it onto the beach.
Four-wheel drives, cars, quad bikes and motorcycles are driving along Stanmore Bay Beach, often at speed, to the consternation of local residents.
Vehicles are not permitted on the beach, unless they are launching or retrieving boats, however some are heading onto the beach for fun, driving between the main boat ramp at Stanmore Bay Reserve and the one at Cooper Road.
The problem has been observed by residents to be worse in summer.
Stanmore Bay resident Claire Tierney says she has been seeking action from Auckland Council and the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board on the issue for more than three years, supported by a group of other beachgoers.
She has sent numerous videos, photos and reports and made a presentation to the Council’s Regulatory Committee “out of sheer frustration” on September 13.
“The result of this was the No Vehicles on Beach sign that went up by the toilet at the main boat ramp,” Claire says. “It is not large enough and not in the right place. I want signs at all the beach access points, so no drivers can say they didn’t see the sign.”
“Councillor John Watson has tried to push council staff to act on this in a common sense manner and Wayne Walker has also been supportive but so far it’s like banging your head against a brick wall,” Claire says.
She says the fact that the Community Facilities department of Council is in the process of auditing signs throughout the Hibiscus & Bays area could be slowing progress on provision of more signs.
Claire says the speeds that the vehicles travel at, close to people walking on the beach and children playing, makes it a serious safety concern.
“As far as I can see Council’s response has been to treat these vehicles on beaches incidents as a nuisance rather than as a matter of public safety. All we want are some decent signs,” she says. “How hard can it be?”
Claire also made a presentation to last week’s Hibiscus & Bays Local Board meeting in hopes of gaining more traction.
Waitemata Police north area prevention manager, Senior Sergeant Steve Pivac, says Police have received reports of vehicles being operated dangerously on beaches. He says they have been able to speak with a vehicle’s owner after it was identified in a photo sent in by a member of the public.
“We would advise anyone who sees someone using a vehicle in a dangerous manner on the beach to report the matter immediately,” Snr Sgt Pivac says. “We ask if possible for the vehicle’s registration and a photo of it, along with details about the time and place.”
Snr Sgt Pivac says Police will follow up on any such reports.
Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt says she is talking with Police about the possibility of extending their summer focus on driving habits at Muriwai Beach to Hibiscus Coast beaches.