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Bold new signs at danger beach

By Beckie Wilson
[email protected]

Visitors to Lake Ferry in South Wairarapa will soon be greeted with more warning signs of the dangers posed at the beach area.

Almost three weeks after the drowning of Filipino fisherman Mr Bennie Hombrebueno at Lake Onoke, South Wairarapa District Council has approved drafts for two new warning signs.

Mr Hombrebueno was fishing with his twin brother on January 2 when he was swept to sea after attempting to cross the open Lake Onoke mouth.

The new warning signs for Lake Ferry are expected to be installed within the month.
The new warning signs for Lake Ferry are expected to be installed within the month PHOTO/SUPPLIED.

The council-funded warning signs will be installed with the hopes of making the beach a safer place.

SWDC amenities manager Helen McNaught said the signs’ drafts had been signed off and sent to manufacturers for production yesterday.

The signs would more colourful and bolder, in the hopes they would attract people’s attention, she said.

“The one already there [at the entrance] will stay and a new one will be put in opposite it on the other side of the road.”

The second sign will be put up near the port-a-loos closer to the beach. The signs are expected to be installed within the month.

Lake Ferry Ratepayers and Residents Association president Colin Whiteman said they had met with the council on a number of occasions in the past to discuss plans for new signs, but it had finally been approved.

The notorious stretch of water has claimed several lives in the past, and the Lake Ferry residents have been very concerned about safety at the beach. Mr Whiteman hopes the new signs will alert visitors, and be a reminder for regulars, to be more aware of the sea.

“The problem is people are a bit oblivious about the beach and its dangers.

“It’s not safe for swimming, and if I see someone going down to the beach I always warn them.”

There were only so many times you could warn people though.

“There’s nothing much more we can do.”

Mr Whiteman has lived at Lake Ferry for about seven years, and had been holidaying there since he was a child.

“I can’t remember any incidents like this [drownings] ever happening over the years,” he said.

“We were always told not to go swimming in the sea.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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