Posted by Ruth Woodward
Horse riders will continue to have the use of Tuapiro Point but with some changes to where horses can be ridden, so that areas of cultural significance and ecological sensitivity are protected.
In response to submissions, Council has agreed to changes that provide greater clarity on the area where horses can and cannot go.
Horse riders will be able to continue to use the majority of the area previously allowed but will no longer be permitted beyond the small island located on the estuary side of Tuapiro Point.
Mayor Garry Webber said the goodwill shown by the horse riding community and Ngati Te Wai had enabled both parties to come to the table and work out a good compromise.
“We, Council, will now do our bit to ensure that the right regulations and signage are in place so that there is no confusion about the use of Tuapiro Point.
“It is in the horse riding community’s hands to abide by the rules and respect the cultural and ecological values of this special place. Council can also help educate the community about these values and why it is important to protect them.’’
Council will erect new signage that clearly explains where horses are permitted and the responsibilities of horse riders to clean up all horse waste. A code of conduct will be developed for all horse riding areas in the District, to set out the expectations of use.
The proposed change at Tuapiro Point for horse riding went to public consultation from May to July. Open days were held at Katikati, Paengaroa and Waihi Beach, all of which were well attended.
Both Ngati Te Wai and the horse riding community made it clear they wanted to find a compromise that would acknowledge the cultural and environmental issues while retaining what is a popular horse riding area.
A total of 597 submissions from individuals, riding clubs, iwi groups and others were received, of which the majority opposed no longer allowing horse riding at Tuapiro Point.
In addition to the submissions, a petition carrying more than 1500 signatures was delivered on horseback to Council’s headquarters at Barkes Corner on 3 August.
Hearings were held on 6 August at which 80 people spoke to their submissions.
The revised Reserves and Facilities Bylaw has been recommended by Council’s Policy Committee but has yet to be formally adopted by Council on 1 November 2018. The new bylaw provisions will come into effect on 9 November.
Council has also decided to conduct a broader review of the provision of horse riding areas across the District. This review is intended to take place in 2019/20.