Terrified beach residents seek liquor ban

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Traumatised residents at Campbells and Baddeleys Beaches on the Tawharanui Peninsula will this week urge the Rodney Local Board to impose a liquor ban, in an effort to curb abuse, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour, including death threats.

Half a dozen residents spoken to by Mahurangi Matters say their lives have turned into a “living hell” because of the behaviour.

Residents say much of the anti-social behaviour stems from excessive drinking by offenders on public land at the Baddeleys and Campbells Beach reserves at all hours of the day and night.

Offenders have scared residents and visitors away with threatening behaviour, dumped picnic tables into the Campbells Beach Creek, set fire to boats and boarded, damaged and defecated on boats moored in the bay, and vandalised public toilets.

Piles of litter have been left behind, including smashed bottles and drug paraphernalia on the beaches.

Meanwhile, unregistered and unwarranted vehicles have sped around the foreshore and nearby roads, sometimes in reverse, and performed donuts and burn outs on the public reserves.

Residents say one vehicle on Baddeleys Beach Road took a corner so badly, it teetered on two wheels before careening into a clump of pampas grass at the side of the road. The narrow streets have no footpaths and there are fears for the lives of children walking along them.

Problems have continued for more than eight months with residents fearful of taking holidays in case their properties are broken into and trashed.

Residents complain baches can’t be let and properties have been sold far below their market value because of the troubles. All the residents spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals if they spoke out publically.

Residents who have called police have been subject to further abuse and intimidation of their young children.

“People are afraid to speak out because of the threatening behaviour. We are talking death threats here,” one resident said.

Residents are pointing the finger at the inhabitants of two homes in the area. The section of one home has a number of disused vehicles and machinery, partly smothered with weeds, providing a haven for rodents and pests. Other vehicles are parked on public land in front of the property, blocking access to the reserve.

A resident says the property does not appear to have an adequate sewerage system as the inhabitants use the public toilets in the reserve. The other home complained about is a rental property.

One resident says numerous appeals to the landlord, Tenancy Services and Auckland Council to take action in connection with the properties have fallen on deaf ears.

Police have been called out numerous times since June last year, but often the offending has ended by the time they arrive, and they are stymied by lack of evidence. Sergeant Scott Sherer, of Warkworth Police, acknowledges complaints have been made in relation to the anti-social behaviour.

One 20-year-old male had his vehicle impounded following sustained loss of traction and is due to appear in court next month. Another person was issued with a verbal warning in respect to threatening language.

Sgt Sherer said he was not aware of any death threats.  He said police supported the proposed liquor ban as they had proved effective in other areas.

“It will give us another tool in the belt when dealing with the issues,” Sgt Sherer said.

Council compliance response team manager Max Wilde says Council is aware of the complaints in relation to the property with the cluttered section and is in the initial stages of an investigation.

“We will take appropriate action when the investigation is completed,” he said.

A woman who declined to give her name, but claimed to be the property manager for the tenanted property, called the Mahurangi Matters office saying she was currently dealing with issues at the property, but could not discuss the matter due to the Privacy Act.   

She added that some claims by residents were incorrect, but declined to specify.

A resident of the property with the cluttered section said claims of anti-social behaviour were grossly exaggerated. He said some of his grown-up children and their partners may have “rocked the boat” when they were a bit younger, but he had told them to “pull their heads in.”

He said that he ran a property maintenance business and mowed the lawns of nearby houses. This would hardly be possible if he was a bad neighbour.    

The application for the liquor ban is being made by the Baddeleys and Campbells Beach Ratepayers Association. The Local Board will vote on the application at its monthly meeting on April 19, to be held at the Warkworth Town Hall.

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