Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Waitati Beach Reserve Society (column)

With the arrival of warmer weather more people will be visiting
Doctors Point beach area. We thought that people would like to know
some of the history of the reserve and the Waitati Beach Reserve
Society's plans for the future.

The area behind the beach is private land. Residential land was
bought in the area by a group of doctors for their seaside houses from
around 1918 (hence the name, Doctors Point). They decided to purchase
the remaining sections near the beach and turn it into a reserve. In
1937 further sections were bought that were to the right of the road
going down to the beach. In 1955 the Waitati Beach Reserve Society was
formed with the aim "to retain the land at the beach in its present
state with the intention that it not be sub-divided or built on, and
be preserved as an amenity for the district for all time." This was
further enforced in 1992 when the Society was successful in obtaining
a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenant on that land immediately
behind the shoreline to protect its special nature. In 1988 Mr Alf
White gifted his triangle of land between the railway land and the
beach to the Society.

In recent years the Society has tried to protect the area from cars
and bikes driving into the dunes, damaging the plants and Māori
archaeological sites. The area to the right of the road as you enter
the beach now has fencing to prevent vehicles entering but we have
maintained walking tracks.. Planting was undertaken with the local
school children and the librarian. We have learnt a lot from that
exercise in terms of what will grow and we plan future planting to
continue to help restore the sand dunes and encourage birdlife.

In the future we hope to fence off the sand dune area on the seaward
side of the road from cars, while still allowing for people to walk
through. The car parking areas will remain. We are doing this to
maintain and restore the sand dunes because without the plants on the
sand dunes the chances of coastal erosion and flooding increases .
This could mean a loss of the archaeological sites as well.

Unfortunately, it is common for people to drive their cars through the
dunes, build fires and dump rubbish.

We want to involve the community and especially the local school
children in conservation projects at the beach. With their involvement
we believe Doctors Point Beach will be an even more enjoyable and
interesting place. We also aim to preserve and enhance the plants and
birdlife. It is hoped that through the engagement with many people in
our community, the beach will be less likely to be damaged in the
future.

If you would like further information about the reserve and future
plans please contact the secretary on ph 4822 775.

Karen Johnston

President Waitati Beach Reserve Society

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Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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