23 Aug 2021

Barriers set up in New Plymouth to discourage unnecessary travel

5:09 pm on 23 August 2021

Barriers have gone up at the entrances to many popular parks and beaches in New Plymouth as authorities try to discourage people driving across town to exercise during the level 4 lockdown.

Barrier at the entrance to Lake Rotomanu / Waiwhakaiho River mouth

Barrier at the entrance to Lake Rotomanu / Waiwhakaiho River mouth. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The district council says it instructed contractors to erect the barriers to support police and the Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management group (CDEM).

But police do no want to take credit for the move and the CDEM group is also in the dark.

Taranaki has been enjoying spring sunshine and warm temperatures and hundreds of people have been out walking their dogs, riding bikes with their children and trying to make the best of a bad situation.

The council said it was happy that the vast majority as residents were following the rules, but reminded people that they should be exercising in the immediate vicinity of their homes.

As a precaution the entrances to Lake Rotomanu and the Waiwhakaiho River mouth, Fitzroy Beach, Back Beach, the Buller Street playground and Mount Bryan Reserve - more commonly known as Pig Out Point - had been closed in New Plymouth.

Out of town, entrances to Lake Mangamahoe, Karo Park in Inglewood and the North Egmont Visitor Centre in Te Papakura o Taranaki / Egmont National Park had also shut.

On Friday, the council reminded residents that at level 4 its public venues were closed, including libraries, pools, playgrounds, customer centres and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre and Puke Ariki museum, but it made no mention of entrances to or carparks at popular parks and beaches.

Contractors putting barriers up at Fitzroy Beach

Contractors putting up barriers at Fitzroy Beach. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

"Let's stay in our bubbles, stay home and save lives. Stay local, restrict travel, keep washing your hands with soap, mask up when you're out and remember the physical distancing rules," it said.

"We know our residents have lots of common sense, will read the rules and stick to them. Be kind and be tolerant, and let's look out for each other."

It also reminded residents that teens and adults must now wear a mask or face covering if on public transport, in departure areas and essential services places, like supermarkets, petrol stations and chemists.

It said council staff were working from home or at critical sites to maintain essential services such as water, wastewater, roading and public information.

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