Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More wild places please

Brighton beach

Protecting the sand dunes so that people can recreate is fair enough.

"Eleven of Dunedin's coastal reserves look set to be given new protected status, at the expense of some recreational rights, in an effort to protect vulnerable sand dune systems."

"Community and recreation services manager Mick Reece said, when contacted, yesterday changes in the reserves' status recognised the importance of protecting the coastal environment from flooding, erosion and other threats.

"You can't recreate if the dunes disappear and you are inundated, so the primary driver for managing the reserves should be coastal protection," he said."

"Council staff would have greater control over access to the reserves, while recreation became "a secondary use", a report by council staff said. However, recreational rights would be maintained where they were compatible with the new emphasis on protection.

The new rules could lead to more fencing and other restrictions on informal tracks cutting through dunes to beaches, with public access "funnelled" into maintained beach access, he believed.

More "one-on-one" talks between the council and private landowners could also be required, where properties had crept on to council reserves over time, he said.

"There's a whole lot of issues in some of those areas," he said."

"To be protected

• Kuri Beach (two areas on coastal side of Taieri Mouth Rd)
• Brighton (coastal side of Brighton Rd)
• Ocean View (coastal side of Brighton Rd)
• Island Park
• Ocean Grove (coastal side of Tomahawk)
• Te Rauone
• Long Beach
• Warrington
• Karitane
• Waikouaiti (in the vicinity of Matanaka Dr)"

A new emphasis on protection - that's good. And the point is, if there is no sand left, then people who recreate in/on the sand won't be able to. So restricting access to protect the dunes makes sense, when you take a long view.

The only area that needs more work is to understand the ecosystem of those dunes. They move, grow and diminish for reasons. Man-made solutions rarely work - how many reclaimation/protection of dunes initiatives have worked?

Sand dunes remind me of mudflats in that they appear to be quiet places with not much happening but in fact they are integrated ecosystems with massive biomass. When some people look at mudflats they think - development, but I think we need more mudflats left as mudflats and we need more sand dunes left as sand dunes. More wild places - it's good for the heart and soul and the economy.

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