A popular four-wheel-driving track on Wellington's south coast could be closed indefinitely because of significant storm damage.
Huge sections of the track from Owhiro Bay to Red Rocks were wiped away following storm swells a few weeks ago.
Councillor Laurie Foon said she felt the city needed to look at how to protect theenvironment and perhaps not having roads "where they don't need to be" is one step to take.
"Maybe we need to be sympathetic in the way that nature is taking its course, especially in an area like this." She said fixing the track was not a priority for the Wellington City Council but it would consult the various groups who use it. "Finances are very tight for [the] council at the moment and there are other areas where we need to focus on putting our money, like our water system."
A council spokesperson told the Herald the track was severely damaged, and huge sections of the route had been swept away.
Although it's is still safe for walkers, the spokesperson said there were a few tougher spots to navigate where the road had merged with the beach.
Marine biologist Dr Sea Rotmann said four-wheel-drive vehicles can cause major destruction in fragile areas.
"As much as I can appreciate people who use the four-wheel drive track who may not be able to use it in the future, from an environmental and a cost perspective, it just doesn't make sense to rebuild it."
Rotmann said because of sea level rise, the track would most certainly get washed out again and driving on the track affects marine life.
"I don't think that four-wheel-driving is the best way of enjoying nature and you can access it on mountain bikes and on foot and that is what we should promote instead."
The track's future will be discussed in the coming weeks, but a council spokesperson said it would remain closed for the foreseeable future.
South coast resident Andi Cockroft is concerned leaving the track closed could restrict nature access for disabled people.
He said many people with disabilities, including himself, won't be able to go there if they can't drive.
"The older you get, as I well know, the less able you are to walk those long distances.
"Having access round at least to Devils Gate has been really important for an awful lot of people."
Cockroft accepted the council had a lot on its plate, but said repairing the route should still be high on its priority list.
In the past, he said volunteers had helped fix the road and he was sure many people would raise their hands to help out.