"All horses should be allowed there [Tuapiro], we're not doing much wrong."
That was the submission from 9-year-old horse rider Riley Warren, who spoke against a proposal to ban horses from Tuapiro Pt at the Western Bay of Plenty District Council's 2018 Reserves and Facilities Bylaw hearings in Katikati yesterday.
The youngster was among submitters who opted to speak at yesterday's hearings.
Joy Oliver, 76, who had been riding horses for many years, said it was a family tradition to ride on the beach.
"My father and grandfather rode on beaches," Oliver said.
"New Zealand beaches are for everyone. All we want to do is ride on the beach."
Amy Gough, representing the Seaview Ranch Equestrian Camp, said for years the Savill family had been taking kids to the beach as part of the Christian Outreach camps.
"Many of the kids we work with are from rough backgrounds. The experience they have on that beach can't be replaced or replicated."
She quoted from one of the children that "riding on the beach was on her bucket list", while another said, "a highlight of the camp was beach day".
"If you take it (Tuapiro) away it will be devastating."
A Tuapiro resident speaking at the hearings said he didn't know what all the fuss was about.
"There was nothing better than to look out the window and see horses and riders on the beach.
He said the attitude of the horse riders was "good" and he had more of a problem with the 'hoons' on the road waking him up.
Councillor Margaret Murray-Benge asked whether he saw horse dung as a problem. He said no.
"The horse floats are parked up off the road. I've never seen it as a problem."
Lisa Coulson said she had regularly been riding at Tuapiro for seven years and it was often deserted.
Coulson asked the policy committee, "if horses are causing significant damage to Tuapiro beach, where is the report to show the damage".
"It is not fair. For many, Tuapiro is the only place to ride."