Visitor and Traffic Management

Overview

Like most hot tourist destinations in New Zealand, visitor and traffic in Hahei has become a huge challenge. More and more visitors have discovered Cathedral Cove (320,000 in 2017/18) and our beautiful beach.  To manage this growing influx we must

  • Look after our visitors. Provide vehicle parking facilities and management systems to enable our visitors to  enjoy all that Hahei has to offer
  • Take care of our local residents and non-resident property owners.
  • Provide an environment that allows all our businesses to thrive.

Given that Hahei is an end destination i.e one road in, has limited space, and a rapidly growing visitor numbers, finding a solution that works for everyone is a huge challenge.

Over the last few years, the Hahei Residents and Ratepayers Association has done its best to focus TCDC’s attention on the problem. TCDC has taken up the challenge and is working with all interested parties to find solutions. We are very grateful to elected members and staff of TCDC for their thoughtful responses.

We are committed to a consensus driven democratic approach to the development of better tourist management, We provide updates in numerous newsletters and have facilitated local discussions to ensure that residents, business owners and our non-resident property owners are informed of developments. We depend on your active participation to help us find the best solution. Please feel free to volunteer to join our Traffic Management Committee.

Our goal is quite simple – work with everyone to develop a consensus that works for everyone. A huge challenge!

One of the key challenges is to determine how we respond to the seasonal nature of visitor and traffic numbers in Hahei. Historically, people came to Hahei in summer for a week or so when the weather was good. But the seasons are extending. For instance, the busiest days in 2018 so far at the Visitor Car Park, were over Easter. Should we ignore traffic congestion over the busy periods and only invest in infrastructure to cope with the average volume of traffic? Should we invest to future proof Hahei or simply wait until traffic is so bad we must act? How do we respond to the needs of our bach owners who only come to Hahei during the busy periods – is it reasonable for them to just accept traffic congestion?

On this page and the links below we provide a little history, and all the data we have been able to assemble.

A Little History

For many years, tourism and traffic in Hahei was not an issue. Visitors parked where they wanted, the Grange Road Car park was a gravel parking area with a pine tree in the middle. Children could ride their bikes safely throughout Hahei.

In 2013 TCDC leadership decided that we needed more tourists and proposed constructing a coastal walkway from Hot Water Beach to Whitianga via Hahei and Cathedral Cove. Details can be found here. While the concept of the Walk sounded great, South Mercury Bay residents were concerned that bringing more tourists to a busy destination would overcrowd the region. TCDC recognised this and agreed to address infrastructure in the area. A new sewage system in Hahei is included in the 2018 – 28 Long Term Plan, and additional parking facilities will be built.

To understand parking needs for South Mercury Bay, TCDC commissioned traffic consultants, MWH to prepare a traffic report. You can download the April 2016 report here.Mercury Bay Peak Summer Assessment Web. This report forecast that Hahei would need car parking for 1075 vehicles by 2021. See section 6.4. The following car parks are proposed.

  • 2016: Expand the Hahei Village Entrance Car Park to provide 200 spaces.
  • 2017: Introduce a 150 space car park at Lees Road. (This now likely to be a private development)
  • 2018: Expand the Hahei Village Entrance Car Park to the proposed 200 spaces.
  • 2019: Expand the Lees Road car park to the proposed 500 spaces (if demand dictates)

In summary, the MWH report recommended a total of 1050 car park spaces by 2019/2020.

Since the report was prepared, tourist numbers has grown significantly faster than forecast. For instance, the report assumed that the annual Cathedral Cove visitors would be to be 400,000 by 2026. The most recent numbers from DOC is that there were 320,000 visitors to Cathedral Cove for the year ending June 2018. Also, it seem likely that the proposed Lees Road Car Park will be developed privately on a much smaller scale.

Where will these vehicles park? 

Working with TCDC, we have developed a Interim Traffic Management Plan. You can read the original plan here Parking Strategy Attachment A

The Interim Traffic Management Plan is being progressively implemented. You can read the latest plan here   Hahei Parking Community BD Paper

TCDC Peak Population Surveys

From time to time, TCDC undertakes population surveys to help in infrastructure planning. You can read the 2016/17 survey here.

TCDC Hahei Traffic Counts

Over the busy Christmas Holidays, 2017/18, TCDC commissioned OPUS to install traffic counters in Hahei. The counters were installed on Hahei Beach Road prior to the Visitor Car Park, Car Park Entrance, Hahei Beach Road after Grange Rd, and on Grange Rd just prior to the Grange Rd Car Park. Results of this survey can be found here. Traffic Data and Traffic Graph Numbers. You can see a graphically representation of traffic flows in Hahei here. Traffic Survey Results Flow Diagram. You can download the raw data here. Hahei 2017 2018 Special Counts

Recent Developments

In April 2017, the Mayor at a public meeting in Hahei challenged the Community to come up with a plan to manage increasing visitor numbers that the majority of the Community would support. Otherwise it was indicated the council would come up with their own plan.

In November 2017 the Mercury Bay Community Board adopted the Action Plan for Hahei. You can read the original plan here Parking Strategy Attachment A

Continued ongoing discussions with the Community Board and the Council have centred on that Plan. You can read the latest plan here   Hahei Parking Community BD Paper

In June 2018, the HR&RA carried out a survey of Hahei Residents and Ratepayers. You can read the results of this survey here.Completed Survey

Based on the survey, HR&RA made a short presentation to TCDC Council Meeting. You can read the presentation here.Council Meeting 2018 6 26 Hahei Presentation.

In response to the presentation, TCDC held a workshop. You can read notes from the workshop and staff presentation here. Notes From Workshop and 12 July Hahei Parking Workshop Combined Staff Slides

Guidelines for Tourist Management

In developing any traffic management plan for a growing tourist destination, its recommend that the following guidelines are used

  • Safety – Traffic movements must be controlled to reduce health and safety risks. Our community has enjoyed a relatively peaceful safe environment for many years and it is basic right that this is maintained.
  • Flexibility – Whatever is implemented must be flexible, easy to adjust as conditions change. It is extremely difficult to know all the consequences of implementing traffic management plans.
  • Community Support – Traffic management systems must have the support of the majority of the residents and ratepayers. This includes, residents, non-resident ratepayers, and business owners.