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Push to upgrade amenities

With increasing numbers of visitors to the South Wairarapa coast, the district council is planning to improve facilities. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES


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New toilets, extended freedom camping areas, and improved coastal rubbish collection, have been signalled for the South Wairarapa coast.

The coastal infrastructure upgrade, costing $200,000, will go ahead if South Wairarapa District Council’s (SWDC) application for a government grant application is approved.

Over the past few years, the popularity of sea-side settlements in the district has grown.

The likes of Ngawi, Tora, Lake Ferry, and Cape Palliser, have seen a significant increase in visitors, resulting in added pressure on coastal amenities.

In a hurried submission, SWDC applied to the MBIE Tourism Infrastructure Fund for $101,000 — half the funds needed to cover its wish list.

Council chief executive Paul Crimp said the project would provide toilets at Ngawi, Sandy Bay, and White Rock, as well as enable the extension and upgrade of freedom camping areas, and enhance rubbish collection for campers.

At its meeting last week, councillors approved the funding balance for the project from various council reserves, should the application be successful.

With the government grant, the project would be completed during November and December this year.

Mr Crimp said in a report to the council that portable toilets had been hired to facilitate the growing visitor population but this was only a short-term solution.

He outlined the issues in the application.

“Our current stock of toilet and refuse disposal facilities cannot cope with demand.

“In addition, we need to carry out some civil works to significantly increase available space for campers.”

Three toilets around the coast and rubbish drop-off points were insufficient, Mr Crimp said.

At any one time, during recent years, up to 10 portable toilets were required at Ngawi.

The fishing settlement is the most visited spot along the South Wairarapa coast.

SWDC has proposed a large capacity dump station for campervans at Ngawi, as well as the reopening of two toilets that were decommissioned after excessive amounts of dumped human waste overwhelmed the septic tank system.

The project would also see the installation of two environmentally-friendly long drops, each with a 1200 litre holding tank, and civil works to enable a more orderly use of the current camping area.

Two eco-long drops are also proposed for Sandy Bay, on the east coast, and remote White Rock, a popular surfing destination.

Cape Palliser farmer and councillor Brian Jephson said it was easy to understand why people were attracted to the coast, with its small communities, lighthouse, and seal colony.

“When we came here in the mid-1980s, if you saw dust coming along the road, you ran to the window to see who was going to town and who was coming home.”

Things had changed since then, he said, and improved infrastructure was vital because traffic was increasing on a “day-by-day” basis.

“Winter, summer, all types of weather, there are camper vans on this road.”

Mr Jephson said dirty toilets were enough to spoil a trip, no matter where you were in the world.

Included in the council’s application were letters of support from the Ngawi Ratepayers Association, Alistair and Jenny Boyne of Tora Station, Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, and the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association.

The Department of Conservation also supports the project.



  1. Most definitely well overdue for this upgrade.
    The traffic just streams out here all the time.
    Let’s be proud of our special place…

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