Owners of recreational four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles are being reminded that council-owned land, such as stormwater basins and areas rich in biodiversity, are not 4WD playgrounds.
Ashburton District Council Commercial Manager James Webb says people driving 4WDs are leaving skid marks, damaging trees, ripping up grass and creating a costly mess in the Ashburton Business Estate's stormwater infiltration basins.
"These are large soak pits with gravel over the top. This sort of activity can damage them and make them much less effective. It is absolutely reckless driving. We don't want to see anyone injure themselves or others."
It is illegal for vehicles to be driven in a dangerous or damaging manner in such areas. Business owners and local residents are being encouraged to note number plates and call the police if they witness incidents of concern.
Mr Webb urged people not to delay getting in touch. "It is far better to call the police in the weekend than the Council on Monday, when the damage has been done."
Senior Policy Advisor Fleur Mulligan said people were welcome to call the Council to check whether an area of council-owned land was accessible to 4WD vehicles. Some areas have been prioritised as eco heritage sites under the Ashburton District Biodiversity Action Plan. For example, the Council is in the process of developing a long-term public management plan for a 4.5 hectare area of Council-owned land at Wakanui to help maintain and restore the sensitive lagoon environment. Drivers need to take particular care to keep on designated tracks in these areas and respect the environment.