How often do we hear that children have lost the ability to learn about life because they are wrapped in the cotton wool of bureaucratically-safe environments? Play areas must be free of dangerous objects, games must be safe, and children must be wrapped up warmly if outside in cold weather, fully protected from the sun’s rays in summer.
Swap sandpit with sandy beach however and the cotton-wool is discarded.
Recently Environment Canterbury, with Hurunui and Waimakariri District Councils gave the green light to a draft plan that will see any number of cars travelling along Canterbury’s Northern Pegasus Bay, in areas that are thick with life: child- life, birdlife, wildlife – you name it.
Children romp & play, picnickers sunbathe and our native shorebirds, such as our banded dotterel and variable oystercatcher nest and nurture their young near the sea-grasses that dress the sand-dunes.
When the tide’s out and the children are building sandcastles in the wet sand, the same birds are nearby feeding, digging up delicacies like juvenile tuatua – baby shellfish.
Needless to say, authorities haven’t noticed the double standard of imposing “safety” restrictions on road users – driving between two footpaths & to the left of the middle line – while simultaneously letting vehicles freewheel along our beaches in the path of playing children.
Sadly, society in general is the real loser, as more and more parents take their children swimming at a nice safe swimming pool, instead of a nasty sandy beach, with all those lunatics on motorbikes.
Those children are deprived of the experience of a natural beach, and will probably grow into adults who “enjoy” a beach by driving along it, in air-conditioned comfort.
Several North Island councils have beach speed limits that will be enforced this summer holiday season – is it only a matter of time before it will be safer to play on State Highway One than on your local beach?