Environment Canterbury manages the Waimakariri and Ashley/Rakahuri Regional Parks along the banks of the Waimakariri and Ashley Rivers, on land owned by Environment Canterbury for flood protection. The parks offer great recreational opportunities and green space within a short distance of Christchurch, Kaiapoi and Rangiora for the whole community to enjoy.
In recent months, Environment Canterbury’s Park Rangers have noted an increase in improper vehicle activity in the park. This includes people driving 4WDs in areas that they are not allowed in, and unregistered trail bikes using public access roads, which is contrary to Park policy and the Land Transport Act.
People have driven their vehicles right over locked gates, damaged the stopbanks that protect our communities from river floods, and ripped up walking tracks with their trailbikes even though there are designated trailbike areas in the Waimakariri Regional Park.
Environment Canterbury Property Parks and Forests Manager Ross Campbell says that since the start of the year more than 70 vehicles have been reported for anti-social behaviour within the Regional Park.
“Vehicles continue to be found in the wrong areas of the park, despite ongoing education of visitors by Parks staff. We want to make sure that the community can enjoy the recreational benefits of their parks, but the behaviour of a small minority is damaging these important community assets.”
Environment Canterbury has a mandate under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act to protect all river protection works. Any vehicles caught engaging in anti-social behaviour, such as driving on the sides of the stopbanks, can cop a hefty fine and risk being banned from park land under the Trespass Act.
In addition, over the next few months Environment Canterbury will be working in conjunction with the New Zealand Police to reinforce the national road rules within park boundaries.
“Canterbury Police will support Environment Canterbury in ensuring the Regional Parks are safe for all users,” says Canterbury Road Policing Manager Senior Sergeant Glenn Nalder. “Dangerous driving, damage to park property and other anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated, and offenders may face prosecution.”
“Park users also need to be aware that vehicle use outside the designated vehicle areas is subject to the normal road rules and regulations,” says Senior Sergeant Nalder.
Members of the public should contact the Police or Environment Canterbury’s Customer Services (0800 324 636) if they notice disagreeable vehicle conduct.
Information on park visitor expectations can be obtained from Environment Canterbury’s Parks Team via Customer Services, or check with NZ Police & Land Transport NZ for applicable vehicle rules and regulations.