The population of Whangarei's coastal communities more than triples during summer, a new survey has found.
The Whangarei District Council conducted a survey to determine peak population of coastal areas during December 2012 and January 2013. It targeted the owners of about 8200 properties in 15 coastal areas from Bland Bay/Whangaruru to Waipu Cove/Langs Beach.
The council held the last such survey in 2007/08 during the summer holidays. Recommendations from the last report suggested the Coastal Peak Population Survey be performed every five years to coincide with the national Census.
The survey is useful in understanding the nature of peak population during summer. Higher numbers in coastal areas affect existing and future infrastructure and services as well as civil defence preparedness.
As the Census data from 2013 will not be available until 2014, an interim report, created with population projections from the 2006 Census data, was presented to the Whangarei District Council last week.
The survey found that for all coastal areas, the estimated peak population period was 36,908, up from a usual resident population of 11,913.
The most popular destinations were Bland Bay/Whangaruru, Ocean Beach, Oakura, Matapouri and Waipu Cove/Langs Beach, with the average length of stay being one to two months of the year.
The peak period for coastal areas was January, while the off-peak period was August. Overall the peak population occurred over New Year, with only two areas - Parua Bay and Taiharuru - having peak population occurring at other times.
Council group manager district living, Paul Dell, said just over 28 per cent of survey forms were returned, down from the desired response rate of 50 per cent, but the results were still valid.
He said the council was still getting feedback forms and it was suggested ways be found to increase the number of respondents for the next survey in five years.