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Abel Tasman foreshore management plan approved

June 28th, 2012
[TDC and DOC press release]

A management plan for the Abel Tasman foreshore has been approved and will come into effect from 1st November this year.

The Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan will guide and direct management of the foreshore reserve by an administration committee made up of the Tasman District Council Chief Executive and Department of Conservation Nelson Marlborough Conservator.

The plan was finalised taking into account matters raised in 104 submissions on a draft management plan released in June last year and at hearings for those submitters who asked to speak to their submissions.

It is the first management plan for the 774-hectare foreshore reserve which was established in 2007 and encompasses foreshore adjoining Abel Tasman National Park, including its islands, and by council reserves and private land enclaves between Marahau and Wainui.

DOC Nelson Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton said a key objective of the management plan was maintaining and enhancing visitors' and adjoining private landowners' use and enjoyment of the foreshore while protecting its natural features.

"The Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan provides for a range of visitor experiences along the Abel Tasman coastline.

"Commercial activity is being concentrated at eight bays which have designated coastal access points for commercial vessel access. There will be lower levels of commercial activity at other beaches south of Totaranui to provide a more peaceful setting. Water-based commercial activity is not permitted on the foreshore north of Totaranui to allow a more natural and isolated experience along this northern coastline.

"Six of the bays with designated coastal access points are by the national park, at Anchorage, Bark Bay/Wairima, Medlands Bay, Onetahuti, Totaranui, and at Sawpit Point in Awaroa Inlet. In the main these have required infrastructure, such as toilets, to cope with higher visitor numbers and there is an expectation of encountering more activity at these locations.

"Medlands Bay has been added as a coastal access point following concerns raised in submissions. The foreshore management plan approval committee acknowledged the problem for larger commercial vessels getting into nearby Bark Bay when the tide is at lower levels due to its sandbar and the difficulty this creates for passengers in having to wade through seawater to get to and from the beach.

"New, higher-standard toilets will be installed at Medlands to cater for more visitors but camping will no longer be possible there. The site is too small to enable both camping and vessel passenger drop off and pick up. The small campsite area was also badly washed-away in high seas in the 6 June windstorm.

"The foreshore management plan sets limits on levels of commercial water transport activity on the foreshore that align with measures in the 2008 Abel Tasman National Park Management Plan for managing commercial activity in the park. The limits for commercial activity on the foreshore maintain it around current levels in the peak summer period and allow for increased activity beyond present levels in autumn, winter and spring.

"The foreshore plan's provisions are aimed at maintaining a sustainable balance between enabling people to enjoy the coastline for its naturalness and to protect the foreshore environment while also providing for commercial opportunities and services. Water transport operators provide important services for people to access the park and private properties and visitors get added pleasure from boat and kayak trips."

Tasman District Council Environment and Planning Manager Dennis Bush-King said the foreshore management plan allowed for private landowners' traditional use and enjoyment of the foreshore to be maintained.

"The plan has provisions relating specifically to foreshore adjoining private land that enable property owners to continue to use it as they have traditionally done, in some cases for generations. This includes for access to their properties and for recreational activities.

"Coastal access points have been designated at Torrent Bay and Awaroa where there are private land settlements but with restrictions and measures intended to minimise disturbance to occupants of the private properties.

"Restrictions specific to Torrent Bay include only allowing water taxi drop off of a total maximum 300 visitors to public areas daily between 9am and midday. No pick-ups are allowed other than for Torrent Bay property owners and their guests.

"Adjustments have been made to the two coastal access points at Awaroa as a result of submissions. There is one coastal access point on Awaroa Beach and a second is now located at Sawpoint Point, by the national park and near Awaroa Hut. It was proposed in the draft plan to have a second coastal access point further along Awaroa Beach but it has been moved to be by the national park rather than in front of private land."

Mr Bush-King thanked the Abel Tasman Foreshore Advisory Forum, representing interested parties, for its advice to the council and DOC in the development of a management plan for the foreshore. He also thanked submitters for taking time to comment on the draft management plan which had contributed to developing the finalised plan.

Approval of the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan was formally signed this week by a special foreshore plan approval committee comprised of Tasman District Council Environment and Planning Manager Dennis Bush-King, on behalf of the council Chief Executive, DOC Nelson Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton, Tasman District councillor Trevor Norriss, Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board chair Ross Hall, and two iwi representatives, Mairangi Reiher for Manawhenua Ki Mohua and Joy Shorrock for Tiakina te Taiao.

The Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan will be in effect till 2018 in order for its review to coincide with the 10-year review of the 2008 Abel Tasman National Park Management Plan.

The Abel Tasman Foreshore Advisory Forum comprises representatives of private land settlements, iwi, commercial operators, the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, recreational boating, the council and DOC.

Around 90 per cent of Abel Tasman National Park visitors spend their time in coastal areas with most accessing the park via the foreshore from the sea, by water taxi, kayak or other vessels. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the busiest multi-day track in the country with around 150,000 visits a year. In January, Anchorage receives up to 700 visitors a day and there are around 1200 people at Totaranui on an average day including campers and visitors.

 



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