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Towies called in for beach-parking blitz

Flagstaff Team

Beach jam… Vehicles on the sand at Castor Bay <Photo: Selwyn Maynard>

Boaties and others who are flouting the law by parking on Castor Bay Beach are being targeted in a crackdown by authorities.

Utes, cars and boat trailers – up to 10 at a time – have recently been illegally parking on the relatively small beach.

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport (AT) planned education and enforcement, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chair Ruth Jackson said last week.

But that enforcement appeared to have started two weekends ago, when parking wardens and a tow truck were seen at the beach.

It is against the law to park on the sand, as it is on reserves. “It’s been happening over multiple weekends,” Jackson said.

“It’s just not safe. It’s just a very toxic recipe.”

People legitimately needed to launch their boats, so authorities did not want to block access with bollards, she said.

Jackson was not aware of the problem arising at Castor Bay previously. She linked the recent traffic to to the loosening of lockdown rules, which allowed people to get outside for recreation while many other things remained off-limits, creating high demand for boat ramps. “It seems to be a new thing.”

Castor Bay Community Association chair Hamish Anderson said cars had occasionally been seen on the beach previously but the problem had grown

He too blamed the lockdown. “People can’t spread out to other beaches outside Auckland and [it’s] putting real pressure on beaches on the Shore in particular that have boat ramp access down on the beach.”

The parking was tide dependent and worse on weekends, but Anderson had seen four cars on the sand at 7.30pm on a Monday night.

“Beaches are for people and families and they shouldn’t have to worry about avoiding vehicles. It’s a small beach. There’s just note enough room for cars and people.”

He said signage warning against driving onto the beach was difficult to see. People saw others parking on the sand and followed suit.

Limited parking in the area was also an issue.

In 10 years in the area he had seldom seen parking wardens at the beach, but he said the authorities had had a big presence two weekends ago, including a tow truck. He wants monitoring to continue. “I’m pleased the council and AT and the board have been listening to us.”

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