Popular Hahei could become a pay-to-visit beach under controversial parking bylaws, which are now open for feedback.

Monday is the final day to have a say on a proposed bylaw change by Thames-Coromandel District Council which would effectively prevent any free visitor parking in streets in the town.

Tourism New Zealand image of Hot Water Beach at sunrise on the Coromandel Peninsula. Photo / Supplied
Tourism New Zealand image of Hot Water Beach at sunrise on the Coromandel Peninsula. Photo / Supplied

The coastal village receives 320,000 visitors a year to the natural attraction of Cathedral Cove.

The council wants to expand a carpark at the entrance to town to cater for 500 cars, and charge parking fees to fund it.

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A ban on parking on streets in the town would apply from October 1 to April 30 each year.

The verges of Pa Rd, Hahei packed soild with holidaymakers' vehicles in summer. Photo / Supplied
The verges of Pa Rd, Hahei packed soild with holidaymakers' vehicles in summer. Photo / Supplied

During these months, it would cost between $8 and $10 to park at the council's newly expanded pay and display carpark, and similar to park at the beach.

A further two options being explored by the council included allowing residents to park one car on the street, or clearing all residential streets of cars with no exemptions for residents.

Council policy and planning manager Scott Summerfield said anyone could have their say.

Local resident Graham Harsant was among those who have already done so.

"A summer tourism bubble is not just a Hahei problem but something that's happening around New Zealand and the world," he said.

"It doesn't help that much of the marketing is focused towards Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach — just look at the council's own website.

"If the growth in tourism continues to create issues nationally then DoC may need to explore more ways to manage numbers, similar to the increased charge for overseas tourists for the Great Walks."

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Hahei Residents and Ratepayers Association vice-chairman John North said it had taken 10 years of talks to get to the proposal, however the association did not favour yellow "no stopping" lines and signage on the streets.

He said the ultimate goal was to create a village where people walk, not drive around looking for a park.

"People end up walking 50m to 500m away from the beach, which is a concern to property owners.

"This is a serious problem and we need to get serious about solutions," North said.

Thames-Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie said the council's decision would come down to the quality of submissions.

Similar proposals would only be considered for other areas if similar problems arose.

"The problem of congested streets and car-crammed berms is ongoing in some pockets around the Coromandel where there are high visitor numbers, but not to the extent that is experienced around Hahei.

"However, parking charges will not be applied to any other part of the district without going through a full public consultation process as it has to be driven by the community."