4WD user benefit from fee removal
4WD users to benefit from fee removal in Akatarawa Forest
Drivers in 4WD trips in Akatarawa Forest are set to benefit from the removal of a $15 access fee charged by Greater Wellington Regional Council from 1 July.
Ending the fee, levied on each vehicle taking part in organised trips in the forest, follows discussions with the Akatarawa Recreational Access Committee in which they put their view that the fee was unfair.
"We're dropping the fee to recognise the contribution made by ARAC to managing 4WD trips in the forest . We're also bringing it into line with the regional council's policy of not charging quad and trail bike riders for access to the forest," says Cr Nigel Wilson.
"ARAC plays an important role in managing 4WD trips in the forest. Several of its members are honorary rangers, helping GWRC encourage responsible motorised use of the forest, and this is proving very effective. This co-operation has also recently focussed on finding alternative access routes that will mean 4WD vehicles avoid the Whakatikei wetland.
The change applies to non-commercial (club) access from 1 July 2016. Foreshadowing a broader review of GW's concession charging policy that will take place from 2017, this approach is seen as fair and recognising the public good delivered by ARAC members.
The current regime - that of only allowing 4WD use as part of organised trips on specified tracks will remain. Where 4WD events are held for private gain (which includes fundraising) the fee will continue. So where participants are required to pay to undertake a trip the fee will still be charged.
"Removal of the fee is a good deal for everyone. The income derived is minuscule, the fee is seen as inequitable and the goodwill it will generate will be invaluable," says Cr Wilson.
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