Public urged to have their say on Abel Tasman foreshore


The public now have just two weeks left to have their say on proposed changes to the Abel Tasman Foreshore Reserve Management Plan.

The Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve is jointly managed by the Department of Conservation and Tasman District Council. The Foreshore Management Plan is the statutory document that describes how the reserve is managed.

A partial review is underway, which proposes to make a few changes to the plan. Information on the proposed changes was released to the public on 12 August 2015.

The partial review only focuses on these four issues:

1) To enable mana whenua to access the reserve to undertake their kaitiaki responsibilities and carry out non-commercial cultural activities

Current plan provisions impose restrictions on access relating to mode of transport, time of day, locations, group sizes, recreational zones and outcomes at places.

A new section is proposed to allow specific exemptions to these plan provisions on occasion to enable mana whenua to access the reserve by boat so they can carry out kaitiaki responsibilities or non-commercial cultural activities, such as a dawn ceremony.

2) To provide for recreation concessions at Observation Beach bays instead of at Watering Cove

Proposed new conditions include transferring commercial kayak and walking operations from Watering Cove to the larger Observation Beach bays to address safety and overcrowding issues.

Observation Beach bays are currently accessible by water only. The Department of Conservation is working with the trustees of the Perrine Moncrieff Private Scenic Reserve to explore options for creating a track across the reserve to connect Observation Beach with the main Abel Tasman Coast Track.

3) To allow Tonga Quarry to be used as a full Coastal Access Point for a trial period

The Foreshore Plan currently provides for a single Coastal Access Point at Onetahuti. However, the sand bar and shallow water make it difficult for some larger vessels to land safely at the Onetahuti Coastal Access Point, particularly at low tide.  It is proposed that Tonga Quarry (a deep-water bay, located just south of Onetahuti) be made available for use as a full Coastal Access Point on a trial basis until the next full plan review.  This would allow water taxis to operate from Tonga Quarry as well as starting and finishing kayak trips.

4) To manage the movement of hire equipment (e.g. kayaks, paddleboards, tents) or other equipment within or across the reserve

Additional provisions are proposed to address movement of commercial hire equipment (e.g. kayaks, tents) within or across the Foreshore Scenic Reserve. The draft provisions clarify that a concession is required to drop off or retrieve all hire equipment from the Foreshore Scenic Reserve, including equipment that people have hired for use during unguided trips.

Further information and submission forms are available on the DOC and TDC websites.  Submissions will be accepted until 4pm on Monday 12 October 2015.

Martin Rodd, DOC Manager Partnerships, says “The proposed wording for the changes to the Foreshore Plan is included in the Partial Review Document, available on the DOC and TDC websites.

“We really want to know what you think about the proposed changes – good or bad. A submission is the most effective way for you to influence the plan, and the decisions and actions that result from it. Please tell us if we’ve got it right.”

The Foreshore Plan is due to be reviewed in full in 2018, together with the Abel Tasman National Park Management Plan. Other issues that are beyond the scope of this partial plan review will be considered at that time.