Tourism related infrastructure

Summer consultation on tourism related infrastructure around Hahei

17 March 2017

We've held further community consultation during summer 2016-17 around tourism related infrastructure for Hahei, which includes the proposal for a new car park to be built at Lees Rd

Results from feedback around the development of a car park and roading improvements on Lees Rd Hahei, to manage growing tourism numbers, has found that 68% of submitters supported the proposal on the proviso that there was improved infrastructure and more thought around future planning for the wider area.

In 2016 our Council requested staff obtain further consultation with communities over peak summer to get a better understanding of their preferences on relevant tourist related infrastructural investments affecting Hahei Village and its surrounds. This is due to the growing number of visitors to Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and the likely impact that the proposed first stage of "Te Ara O Hei," walkway from Whitianga to the Blowhole, south of Hahei Village would add to tourism growth.

A total of 275 feedback forms were received from 1 December 2016 - 6 February 2017, with 87% of submitters being ratepayers (42% of those permanent and 45% non-resident) and 13% from people just visiting the area over summer.

Key themes from the feedback was: 

Hahei is overloaded for a short 3-4 weeks of the year and it's getting worse. 

  • Given the increased tourists numbers recently experienced if this growth continues without proper management the numbers of visitors going to Cathedral Cove is destroying the quality of this attraction and visitor appeal.
  • An overriding theme from submissions was the need to sort out Hahei's infrastructure first, and give some time to consider all options for how traffic and visitors can be better managed at peak times, before providing more tourist attractions to Hahei itself.
  • The general feeling was that Hahei does not need any additional reasons to visit it and the load should be spread across other attractions on the Coromandel.

More specific feedback:

1) On a car park at Lees Rd.

  • 68% were in support of this as a way to address traffic issues during the peak summer (Christmas-New Year).  Of that 68%, many based support on conditions including having appropriate supporting infrastructure  for tourists (including toilets) that parking and shuttle fees be structured so locals are free or discounted, car parking rates are reasonable and incentivised and that effective, clear directional signage was in place.
  • Supporters also indicated the car park needed to complement the existing Hahei Village Entrance car park (which is closer to Hahei Village), as part of a wider need to manage parking and tourists. Supporters also questioned the timing and costs of building the car park if the tourist numbers are only an issue for 6-8 weeks a year.
  • Of the 28% that opposed the proposal, the common themes were that Hahei and Cathedral Cove was already too overloaded with visitors and promotion of other areas on the Coromandel was needed, that the car park was a waste of money as it would only be used over peak summer, that the existing Hahei Village Entrance car park was working well now and had the potential to be expanded and that the Lees Rd car park would take visitors away from Hahei Village.
  • The other 4% of submitters neither supported nor opposed the proposal.
  • 23 submissions were from Lees Road residents. There was a fairly even split with 9 submitters opposing the Lees Road car park, with 13 submitters supporting it, albeit conditional in many cases.  1 submitter did not indicate a preference either way.

 2) On what Council's priority for service provision to Hahei and surrounds should be.

  • Traffic management and car parking was the top priority that submitters believed Council should be focused on.  (107 submissions)
  • This was followed by river/stream quality (45) followed closely by improved tourist facilities like toilets (42) and improved wastewater facilities (41).
  • Drinking water quality was the next priority.

3) On the proposed "Te Ara O Hei," walkway from Whitianga to the Blowhole, south of Hahei Village, that is part of our Coromandel Walks project,

  • 55% (142) submitted in support of the proposed walk, while (117) 45% were in opposition.
  • Of the 55% that supported the walk, the clear message was conditional on infrastructure like toilets and parking be sorted out first, before attracting more visitors to Hahei.
  • Other recurring comments included taking time to work the project through, that the walk to the Blowhole was a "dead end,' so a return route and parking needed to be developed, along with comments that the walk needed to go through to Hot Water Beach.

We are sharing this feedback with our key stakeholders including DOC, iwi and the Hahei Resident and Ratepayers Association, and are awaiting further input from everyone before a report goes to our next Council meeting in May. This report in May will help guide Council's decision on lodgement of a publically notified Resource Consent for a car park at Lees Rd.


The feedback period.

Thursday 1 December 2016 10am - 3pm DROP IN - Hahei community centre

Saturday 3 December  2016 - 10am MEETING - Lees Road Residents at Hahei community centre

Thursday 8 December 2016 10am - 3pm DROP IN - Hahei community centre

Thursday 15 December 2016 10am - 3pm DROP IN - Cooks Beach Hall

Wednesday 4 January 2017 DISPLAY AND ATTENDANCE - Cooks Beach Gala

Thursday 5 January 2017 DISPLAY AND ATTENDANCE - Hahei Gala

Sunday 8 January 2017 DISPLAY and ATTENDANCE Mercury Bay School Seaside Carnival

Thursday 19 January 2017 10am - 3pm DROP IN - Hahei community centre 

Saturday 28 January 2017 (if needed)- 10am - 3pm DROP IN - Hahei community centre