Confusion over show of support for horse riding

People have until Monday to have their say on a proposed ban on horse riding at Tuapiro Point near Katikati.

An event at Tuapiro Point to show support for access to the coastal environment went ahead last weekend, despite confusion over whether the Western Bay of Plenty District Council had asked organisers to cancel it.

The council is undertaking a bylaw review which considers no longer allowing horses to be ridden at Tuapiro Point, saying riders are going outside permitted areas, leaving waste behind and causing damage to shellfish beds.

The local equestrian community has mounted a campaign to oppose the ban and organised a ‘Hikoi of Hope’ last Saturday.

Although the event was officially cancelled by organisers, riders were invited via the ‘Why I love riding at Tuapiro’ Facebook page to meet as a collective “for an afternoon of fun”. About 60 people turned up at the beach on Saturday, along with about 30 horses that were walked along the beach.

Spokesperson Lisa Coulson, who advised that the ride had been formally cancelled by the council, said it was “sad” that the way the issue had been handled by council had resulted in division within the community.

But the council says it did not ask organisers to cancel the event and had approached them with an offer of help to produce traffic management and health and safety plans which are required for public events held on council land.

“This is standard practice and required for any public event on council land,” says Rachael Davie, group manager Policy, Planning and Regulatory Management.

“Council got in touch with the event organisers when we became aware this was a promoted event. However, we did not ask for it to be cancelled and in fact offered help and support in putting together the required health and safety plans so the event could run on schedule. We were told on June 27 that the event would be cancelled, which is why we didn’t follow up further with any event support.”

Submissions on the proposed bylaw change close on Monday, July 9 and can be made at www.haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz