Local Board moving from governance to management ???

0 Comments 24 September 2014

Item 15 on the Waitakere Ranges Local Board (WRLB) Agenda for their meeting 25th Sep ’14 is about Dune Management at Piha – Review and Proposed Management Plan

Many years ago now consultation started over the management of Piha Beach’s dunes.  Probably only the Karekare toilets have had more meetings, consultations, discussions than this report.  Incredible!

It was finally put on the Waitakere Ranges Local Board Agenda for adoption earlier this year but, wait, two or three people were still not happy and spoke to the Board about it.   The Board then delayed adopting it , yes again, to consult some more.

Twenty three more people had their twopence worth and it’s on the Agenda  at this weeks Board Meeting on Thursday.

Consultation Question 4.2.2a  A specific MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) be developed between Piha CoastCare and Auckland Council.   Yes: 21  No: 2Agenda of Waitākere Ranges Local Board4.2.2a – a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Auckland Council and Piha CoastCare will be developed.  This will require formal approval from the local board.Comment: Piha CoastCare has always had a MOU with the Council of the day.  The current one has expired and Council has been delaying it’s renewal.


Consultation Question 4.3.2g  It is not necessary to plant along the seaward edge of a well-vegetated dune system to encourage seaward expansion.  In general any seaward expansion of dunes should be left to natural processes unless there are compelling reasons for intervention.  Yes: 18  No 5Agenda of Waitākere Ranges Local Board – 4.3.2g – no further planting is to be undertaken on the seaward edge of the dune system.  Any future proposals for planting on the dunes will need the prior approval of the local board.Comment: No further planting?  78% of respondents agreed that planting should happen if there are ‘compelling reasons’.Local Board’s function is governance and policy.  When did the Local Board enter the realms of management?  What other Trust or volunteer group have to get ‘operational’ sign off from the Local Board rather than Council whose job it is to manage?


Consultation Question 4.3.3b  The present number of access ways is largely adequate but an additional defined pedestrian access way should be established at the southern end of the surf club car park where an informal access way presently exists.  Yes: 20  No: 3Agenda of Waitākere Ranges Local Board – 4.3.3b – a formal access way will be formed at the informal access way at the southern end of the surf club car park.

Consultation Question 4.4.3a  Trends in dune height can be regularly reviewed (say every 1-3 years) following survey of the Auckland Council beach profiles.  If there is evidence of a significant (say greater than 0.5-1metre) change in average height over time, options to manage this could be reviewed though these are likely to be limited.  Yes: 20 No: 3Agenda of Waitākere Ranges Local Board – 4.4.3a – regular reviews of dune height will be undertaken and if there is significant change in average heights over time options will be considered.Comment: 87% of respondents agree with management of the height of the dunes but the Local Board say “Options will be considered”.   Previous attempts to lower the height of the dunes, agreed to by Piha CoastCare,  has been interrupted by activists.


Consultation Question 4.5.2c  Once dense vegetation is established, removal of existing fences could be trialed in limited areas with close monitoring.  Yes: 7  No: 17Agenda of Waitākere Ranges Local Board –  4.5.2c – access way use will be monitored and potentially the length of access ways will be reduced where they intrude onto the beachComment: 71% of respondents disagreed with the removal of existing  fences.   Why consult and then go against the wishes?


Consultation Question 4.5.2d  Restoration of natural character and enhancement of amenity values in the vicinity of the Moana Stream can probably be achieved with appropriate design and consultation and further investigation and design is recommended.  Yes: 21 No:2Agenda of Waitākere Ranges Local Board – 4.5.2d – design options for the restoration of natural character and enhancement of amenity values in the vicinity of the Moana Stream will be investigated.  This will be followed up with consultation with local residents and ratepayers to determine the best approach.Comment:  I hope your consultation includes the ‘local residents’ themselves including the Beach Valley Road Project.  Most of Moana Stream (it’s actually a channel now) is within the Beach Valley Road Project’s area.


 But wait – there is more:  the recommendation on the Agenda is :

Recommendation/s  “That the Waitākere Ranges Local Board: Receives the Dune Management at Piha – Review and Proposed Management Plan, Version 2 – October 2013 report”

Could someone tell me when this is going to be adopted?

Post Script:   What is sad is that Jim Dahm’s original report strongly advocated the involvement of people,  the building of community, the building of education regarding dunes and the fostering of relationships.    This, sadly, has been sidelined by the politics of this process.  🙁

Some of the things Jim recommended:

[That] Auckland Council give consideration to how best they can improve the level of support provided to Piha CoastCare, particularly to assist with improving consultation and communication in relation to dune management by

  • building community awareness and support for dune management
  • improving communication and relationships with those stakeholder groups who have ongoing reservations and concerns regarding dune management
  • resolving stakeholder concerns as they arise
  • provision of an independent web site that is kept up to date with CoastCare activities and plans (upcoming working bees; meetings)
  • providing opportunities for increased participation in dune management at Piha

Piha CoastCare Trust 

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