Calls to ban vehicles on beaches are intensifying after a car rolled on Muriwai Beach yesterday, leaving one person dead.
Two others sustained serious injuries in the incident, which was reported to police at 2.38pm on Sunday.
Speaking to Breakfast on Monday, Rodney local board member Guy Wishart said yesterday’s accident is “a tragedy”.
“It’s something that’s pushing the council and the community to be more vigorous about this, about what we’re really going to do to stop these events taking place in the future.”
He said the general feeling in the community is sadness, and that locals wish these accidents wouldn’t happen.
“They’re looking for a resolution or something to happen next that will increase the vigilance on the beach.”
He said Muriwai Beach is technically a road but it’s not a “normal” road so motorists do need to take a lot of extra care.
“It has soft patches so if you tried to do a wheely or something unusual on the beach then you could easily flip your vehicle.
“This is a real problem that need to be dealt with fairly quickly and the community are all waking up to this thinking something needs to be done.”
He said there are a number of rules around where on the beach you can drive, and speed limits but some drivers don’t follow those rules.
“There are a group of individual drivers who are not adhering to to any of those rules and this is where the issue is.”
It comes a week on from the reopening of Muriwai Beach to vehicles on January 14.
Auckland Council announced the ban on motorised vehicles from the West Auckland beach during high-risk and peak summer periods last October.
Planning, environment, and parks committee deputy chair Councillor Angela Dalton said at the time that the decision provided a consistent approach to address ongoing safety concerns at Muriwai Beach.
“Every summer, vehicles on Muriwai Beach create safety issues and concern around driver behaviour.”
In a statement to 1News, Auckland Council said vehicle access to the beach is closed from midday today through to midday Thursday, with the Coast Road and Wilson Road beach access points locked.
The beach will still remain open to visitors on foot.
Auckland Council General Manager, Parks and Community Facilities Taryn Crewe said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred at Muriwai Beach yesterday.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and loved ones of the person who died, as well as the two people injured.
“In partnership with Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, Auckland Council is supporting the implementation of a rāhui in respect of this loss.”
He added: “We have worked hard over the years to introduce measures at Muriwai Beach that aim to enhance safety and protect this fragile environment.
“The 45-kilometre beach area presents numerous challenges in terms of managing access and balancing the interests of recreational users, emergency vehicles and customary rights.
“We are working closely with the Rodney Local Board, iwi and emergency services on this and will continue to review how we can manage this popular West Coast beach area in the future.”