Huge fines levied by Tauranga City Council against vehicles on city beaches may be dropped to make the bylaw more likely to be enforced.
At the moment the police enforce any issues with speeding vehicles on the beach.
The fine defaults to $750 for any fine involving a vehicle under the city council Beaches Bylaw.
Council staff told Community and Culture Committee members at a meeting this week that a reduced fine to $150 or $100 for speeding ATVs will mean more enforcement.
“They (the police) were just not going to go with the $750 in terms of their scale, but if we do something we will actually get some enforcement there, which will be positive,” says Councillor Steve Morris.
Committee members were discussing changes in the draft Beaches Bylaw, which is about to go out for public consultation.
The council is unable to totally ban vehicles from the city beaches because they are permitted under the over-arching Regional Council Coastal Plan.
But the city council has limited beach access to vehicles launching ‘craft’ like kon-tiki fishing gear, police and rescue vehicles surf lifesaving ATVs - and ATVs belonging to members of the public fishing near Fords Cut at Papamoa East.
Council staff say that under the Land Transport Act the beach is a road, and the council allows vehicles on it for specific purposes like fishing.
Councillors also want the public to comment on a proposal to restrict fishing from the ocean beaches because of some complaints about long lines drifting near swimmers. In future fishing from the beaches using kon-tikis or other ‘craft’ may be seasonally restricted.
A total ban of fire on the beach is also up for discussion.
The current bylaw allows fires to be lit on the intertidal zone, but this is ignored and fires are generally lit above the high tide mark.
In this week’s discussion, councillor Leanne Brown pointed out it is not the fires that are the issue. It is broken glass left at the sight of beach fires by drinkers.