A number of seats recently removed from the Papamoa beachside is the talk of many local residents.
The removal was spotted late last month by a resident who chose not to be named.
He says two trucks with about four people removed seats from all along the coastline.
“These seats have been there for more than 20 years and are used by many nearby residents every day, particularly the elderly.
“As someone who is elderly themselves, I can say on behalf of myself and others, this is completely scandalous. Now when we want to go to the beach, there will be nowhere for us to sit.”
TCC parks and recreation manager Mark Smith says the removal is part of a programme of removing beach encroachments to protect the dunes along the coastal strip.
“Over a number of years we have been working hard to restore the dunes at all of Tauranga’s beaches back to their natural state, which includes removing structures and encroachments.
“We’ve removed a number of seats and benches along the coast, because they become a destination and the plants are repeatedly trampled around them,” says Mark.
“We understand that it’s nice to sit by the water, but trampling kills dune plants, and the dunes won’t rebuild after big storms if the native plants aren’t there.
“The dunes are our best defence against storms, tsunamis and rising sea levels. Even informal trails along the dunes – where there’s no structure or fencing to guide visitors, but people walk on them regularly – can cause a lot of damage.
“Where possible, we’ve worked with the owners of these seats. If a seat is removed, the contractor holds onto it for a number of months to give the owner an opportunity to come and collect it. They can then place it on private property.
“The community can also ask for new seating to be placed in a nearby reserve where the surface is mown turf. People can also take a little collapsible seat to have a rest at any stage on their walk.”