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.
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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.