Regional transport operator Nimon and Sons have announced the withdrawal of their services to the summit of Te Mata Peak as of Monday, 11 November 2019. This is due to increased safety concerns for the vehicle operators as well as the walkers and bikers sharing the road within the Park. The Park Trust would like to acknowledge and thank Nimon for their considerable efforts and concern for the safety of all those recreating in the Park.
“The Trust Board is very grateful for all the efforts Nimon has undertaken, and obviously the decision has implications for us all to consider and act upon,” said Te Mata Park Trust Chairman, Mike Devonshire.
This gratitude was echoed by Emma Buttle, Te Mata Park Manager, stating that “[Nimon] has set the bar very high in terms of prudent traffic management practices, and we absolutely understand their rationale for no longer taking buses to the summit on cruise ship days.”
Along with Nimon, the Park Trust voiced a growing concern about vehicular access up the road acknowledging the considerable health and safety risk that it poses to all.
“Increased vehicular access up the peak road has exponentially increased the risk to non-motorised users within the park, and that is our single biggest health and safety concern,” commented Devonshire.
The Park Trust is pleased that these risks are being addressed by both Nimon and Hastings District Council through the Corridor Management Plan. Looking ahead, the Park Trust believes that large vehicular access to the summit is unsustainable as visitation to the Park grows each year.
Te Mata Park is the most popular destination in Hawke’s Bay with 1 million visitors annually. ‘’The pressures faced by the Park, in terms of vehicular access, are comparable to the likes of Mt Eden and other popular tourist destinations in New Zealand. The current intensifying use of the road is unsafe and impractical, and whilst it is currently being reviewed through the Council’s Corridor Management Plan, the Park Trust believes that it is inevitable that access will be controlled in the future,’’ adds Devonshire.
To reduce further safety concerns on the upper section of Te Mata Peak Road, which is a public road and under the control of Hastings District Council, the Park Trust and Council are working together to arrive at timely solutions.
Current regulations put in place by Hastings District Council restrict any vehicle over 7.5 m from travelling on Te Mata Peak Road beyond Peak House Restaurant, unless a Council-approved temporary Traffic Management Plan has been established and prepared by the qualified Site Traffic Management Supervisor.
Local bus companies who wish to continue accessing the Peak are strongly encouraged by the Park Trust to adopt robust traffic management plans and engage in consultation with both the Park Trust and Hastings District Council to ensure best practice.
The Park Trust’s highest priority is the safety and enjoyment of the Park users.