A beach day at Hahei may soon come at a price

Drive 07/09/2018
Photo: Getty.

Popular hotspot Hahei may soon become a pay-to-visit beach under proposed parking bylaws by Thames-Coromandel Council.

The proposed change would prevent visitors from parking for free in the town, which would apply from October 1 to April 30 each year.

This isn’t about revenue. It’s about creating a management plan to solve the issue.

With a steady stream of tourists each summer, the council intends to expand an existing carpark to allow for 500 cars. Parking fees, which could be up to $10, would fund the new carpark.

John North from Hahei Residents Association told RadioLIVE that paid parking was introduced at Hot Water Beach just three years prior – a beach that’s only 5km down the road.

“It’s taking away the stress and the hassle and providing a safe environment,” Mr North said.

He suggested that it’s no different than popular hotspots around New Zealand who have used parking fees to pay for tourism infrastructure.

“The problem is 320,000 visitors per year now. An [the Department of Conservation] are forecasting that it’ll increase to 500,000 in three years’ time. We’ve got to get on top of the problem.

“This isn’t about revenue. It’s about creating a management plan to solve the issue.”

Public feedback is sought on the proposed change, which closes on Monday. 

Listen to the full interview with John North above.

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