Dune destruction, profit over people
by Pat Seymour, GDC councillor
Two things are really bugging me this week — people driving along the Makorori dunes, and vaping shops springing up in communities where whanau and family funds are scarce enough already!
Yesterday morning I saw a large white 4x4 being driven happily along the dunes opposite the Makorori woolshed.
There is no apparent reason why one would need to drive along the low dunes and damage the dune ecosystem that struggles to survive at the best of times. I note also that it was not a surfing morning.
There are two adequate carparks, one at each end of Makorori, and a couple of lesser carparks at the south end of the beach.
Despite all the publicity the good people of Makorori have expressed to protect their dunes, drivers continue to destroy the sensitive ecosystem.
Until the past couple of years there was no driving over the dunes. About eight years ago the then NZ Transport Agency actually blocked off some random exits from the dunes to the state highway. Now there are some 14 accessways from the dunes to the state highway.
Winter sees terrible damage to the dunes, and many who care for our environment find this really disappointing and frustrating that the agencies with responsibility to protect the dunes are seemingly taking so long to effect some protection.
Why do the public think it’s OK to drive all over dunes? They don’t do it now at Wainui, so why do it on even more fragile low dunes at Makorori?!
Those dunes are low already and seriously degraded by human behaviours over the past two winters. Sea level rise will challenge that dune ecosystem long before it reaches other dune systems.
I do support Mayor Stoltz and the young people objecting to the vaping shop potentially opening on the corner of Stanley Road. Recently I noticed a vaping shop has appeared in the township of Tolaga Bay.
These shops make it easier for young people to have access to these products, which don’t come cheap. So the shop owners are taking from young people and those not so young — funds that might otherwise help to feed a family.
The Government set a target to be smokefree and yet we are currently seeing a proliferation of vaping products being sold beyond the group of people legitimately using vaping as a method to cut addiction to cigarettes.
It seems perverse that so many vaping shops are popping up, and they only pop up because they can make a profit from their client base.
The product is available in other stores, so let’s leave it there and not have these vaping-only shops dotted around our communities.
Where will it stop?