Massive Rates Rise

The proposal by Horowhenua District Council to increase rates at Waikawa Beach by up to 66% has gone down like a dead duck.
On top of this the council are proposing that we pay for fresh water reticulation which most residents do not want anyway. One resident takes water into her mother at Levin every time she visits as the mother thinks it is better quality and it keeps her going at times when the Levin water is cut or cannot be used for drinking as happens frequently after heavy rain.
At a time when local bodies have been asked by Central Government to tighten their belts because of the economic downturn this massive increase has come as a shock to ratepayers.

District Plan 2009

Proposed District Plan changes were sent to all ratepayers recently. The Ratepayers Association has made the following submission concerning this proposed plan.

Greenbelt Residential

The Association was involved in submissions and in discussions with the Council concerning the Development Plan. A strong message was received from the community during the consultation process that no further development was welcomed at Waikawa.

Subsequently the Association met with the Council and a compromise position was reached. This position was not viewed favourably by some members.

The proposed plan changes 20/21 are not what the Association agreed with and consequently the Association objects to the proposed changes.

There are several points that should be addressed:

Coastal Environment

It is agreed that this environment is unique and fragile and must be guarded from undue development that would spoil this character.

The Association asks that the Coastal Environment be increased in area to include all of the Waikawa district, namely to include the land up to Waikawa Heights. The dune system extends to at least that area and it seems only logical for it to be zoned that same. During negotiations with both NZ Wise and Waikawa Lakes all this area was considered to be part of the Coastal Environment in reports tabled by Council and is also referred to as Coastal Environment in the Development Plan.

Coastal Lakes

The Association requests that this area be renamed. While it is acknowledged that there are lakes of significant importance in this region, much of it is in significant wetlands as well and this would seem to a logical naming.

It must be stated that the name Coastal lakes implies manmade lakes are acceptable and the Association is strongly opposed to such a suggestion.

Structure Plan 10

This land was originally included in the draft development plan and later removed. At the time of discussions between Council and the Association the land was not included and the Association suggested that 5 ( 2 hectares) of greenbelt residential land would have a minor impact on Waikawa, and would help achieve the Council’s goals.

At no time during the discussions with the Council did the Association ever agree to 7.5 hectares. Five acres was the area of land agreed to. (Please forgive the differing measures.)

The Association only agreed to the five acres as options 4 and 5 were removed from the original draft plan.

The Association is pleased to see the inclusion of Reserve land fronting the river to allow public access should this area ever be developed.

Structure Plan 11

The Association agreed to this being included if public access, both pedestrian and vehicular access was guaranteed.

Structure Plan 11 and the amended District Plan does not allow for this.

This map shows the inclusion of a local road continuing on from the southern end of Manga Pirau St. It must be pointed out that the area adjacent to Manga Pirau St which is currently used for vehicular access, is subject to the effects of high tides and is often covered in debris Predicted rises in sea levels would have a significant effect. The prevailing wind also effects access due to sand movements. A road would require much repair and upkeep and be a waste of ratepayers money. The track is currently kept clear and usable by the community. Vehicle access could remain as it is now with the added benefit of the link road from Sarah St, using the existing access.

The designated Reserve land is less than what was agreed to at the meetings with Council. This was to have included the area directly to the seaward side of the end of Manga Pirau St, continuing on the Reserves that currently exist.

The pedestrian connection from the Reserve land to Reay Mackay Grove is through private property as is the greenbelt local road from Strathnaver Drive south. Have these been discussed with the landowners?

The Association is disturbed to see that alterations to the Development Plan agreed to with Council have been changed with no further consultation. What does this say about consultation?

As these plans stand at the present the Association has no alternative to oppose the proposed changes.

The Association would welcome meeting with the Council to discuss these concerns. If development was to take place in these areas and the developers met the Council’s criteria public notification would appear to not be needed. It is imperative that all concerns are addressed.

Algae Warning January 2009

Fri 16 Jan 2009

A nasty surprise could be waiting for people hoping to make the most of summer by heading for many of the region’s rivers and streams

Horizons Regional Council scientists warned yesterday that outbreaks of potentially harmful blue-green algae were widespread in the upper Manawatu River and its tributaries upstream of the Ashhurst Domain, though there were some clear swimming spots on the Pohangina River.

The algae, which can kill dogs and harm humans, has also been confirmed in Palmerston North at the end of Albert St and in the Oroua River at Awahuri.

Horizons environmental scientist Kate McArthur said the lack of rain and continuing warm weather were creating ideal conditions for the slimy black Phormidium growths to take hold in shallow reaches of the region’s rivers and streams.

“While we have been able to confirm the algae is present in a significant number of popular swimming spots, people should keep themselves and their pets safe by assuming that all waterways may have Phormidium present and they should check for obvious signs before swimming,” said Ms McArthur.

“Young children and babies are at greater risk, and dogs should be kept away from any river with obvious signs of growth.

“Fishing in areas with signs of the algae is probably okay but fish might taste muddy and should be thoroughly washed with clean water. Don’t eat the kidneys and liver.”

Ms McArthur said rivers with better water quality were generally likely to have less algal growth and be safer for swimming.

“Anyone wondering if they have found a safe place to swim should check upstream for shallow areas where the water is broken, such as riffles or rapids. If there’s any slimy black growth in the water, or dried material on the river’s edge, swimming is probably not advisable.”

She said checks yesterday showed no growths on the Pohangina River at Piripiri, Mais Reach and the Totara Reserve, though anyone visiting those areas should check for themselves.

“While these areas were clear and fine for swimming when we checked them, people should remain vigilant as growths and blooms can develop rapidly at any time.”

Ms McArthur said algae had been confirmed in the Waikawa Stream downstream of SH1.

We remember Graham Hassell

Graham Hassell, a long serving committee member of the Association, died on 29 January 2009 after a battle with cancer.

In the past 10 years Graham organised most of the working bees to improve the facilities around the settlement.

His last big project was the boat launching ramp, the completion of which caused him much frustration because of regional council delays. He finally completed it two months before his death. After the boat ramp was completed he planted two Norfolk pines in the reserve and probably his last outing was at the Waikawa Beach Ambrose Golf and after match function in early January.

Bad Re Sealing

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On Tuesday 13 January, Higgins Contractors resealed Waikawa Beach Road from about 500 metres outside the 50km speed limit down to the boat ramp. Some would say that other areas needed sealing more urgently than this area, such as the short loop road at the toilets in the reserve or that part Waikawa Beach Road from the junction of Takapau Road 500 metres down toward SH1.

Now residents are confronted with chlidren arriving home from the river with feet coverd in tar and which after only one day must have been carried into most houses in the settlement.

The coverage of chips is inferior in many places, probably worse than that which occured on SH 1 two years ago just north of Paraparaumu.

Was the reasealing in this area really necessary?

Why was it carried out in the holiday settlement at its busiest time?

Was any consideration given to using smaller chips having regard that the settlement has no footpaths?