The revised policy includes a new access category for visits to the Pencarrow Lodge, popular with cruise ship visitors, allowing up to 10 vehicle movements a day.
Other commercial users are also accommodated with an increase to 10 vehicle movements a day, while land-owner/farming movements remain unrestricted.
Committee chair Roger Styles says an unlimited number of visits was originally proposed but following public submissions the committee agreed to retain a limit on the number of vehicles.
“When the policy was first adopted, there were around 20 cruise ships visiting. Next year there are expected to be almost 100 visiting the greater Wellington region and the policy variation has been made in recognition of this while allowing for environmental considerations,” says Councillor Styles.
The policy also strikes a balance between competing uses of the road, providing for recreational use by walkers and cyclists, while recognising not everyone is able to make the trip on foot.
“Many of the cruise ship visitors are elderly and a package coach trip is the only practical means of visiting. Council recognises Pencarrow Coast is the jewel in the city’s crown – and one of the region’s premier attraction. It is something to be proud of.
“The revised policy is about showcasing the area while managing effects. A policy of ‘share with care’ ought to be encouraged, where all users of the road are aware of other users and act courteously.”
Mayor Ray Wallace agrees the decision reached last night is both fair and balanced.
“I am pleased we’ve achieved a result for our city which will make the most of the economic opportunities presented by increased cruise ship numbers while ensuring the natural beauty of the area and the safety of Pencarrow Coast Road users is maintained,” says Mayor Wallace.
The committee heard from around 30 submitters at last night’s meeting. Many spoke of a high level of concern at the number of illegal Pencarrow Coast Road users who access the road using sensitive beach areas and damaging nesting sites. Such illegal use also includes poaching activity.
Councillors agreed all practical efforts would be made in conjunction with Greater Wellington and other stakeholders to ensure illegal access was minimised.
12 tonne of rock has already been put in place to stop access from the Wainuiomata Coast Road and the crackdown on illegal access is set to increase next week with another 36 tonne of rock to be placed.