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Shy native fish gets attention

Shy native fish gets attention

A small native fish has played an important role in a North Shore City education and consultation process.

The Kokopu, a fresh water trout, inhabits many waterways within the mostly urban city, and is an important guide to stream water quality. Throughout this month, the usually shy and evasive fish has captured the public's attention - and will help the council reach an important goal.

North Shore City volunteers and staff have been taking aquariums of banded Kokopu, inanga, koura and bully into shopping malls and other public arenas around the city to introduce the species to the public. They are using the wide interest in the native fish to focus attention on the city's stormwater management plans and to seek the public's submissions on the city's stormwater consents process.

Dubbed "The Kokopu Connection", the community consultation programme asks people to tell their city council how much money should be spent on upgrading stormwater systems and on managing stormwater effects in the city. North Shore City needs public feedback before it lodges consent applications with the Auckland Regional Council (ARC).

Already more than 3000 submissions have been received by the city, with the closing date still more than a week away, on April 22. The public is strongly encouraged to have their say on this important issue, says North Shore City Council's works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford.

"The Kokopu Connection publicity campaign is a key part of our stormwater and wastewater network consents process, which aims to alert the public to the need to better protect our environment from the potentially damaging effects of stormwater runoff," Councillor Cayford says.

"Our council is faced with a number of choices in terms of planning and long-term cost, and needs the community's feedback on these issues.

"We need to find the right balance between requiring land owners to manage the rainwater that falls on their properties, and requiring council to build more rate-funded stormwater infrastructure.

"Before we lodge our applications with the ARC, we must decide whether to continue upgrading our stormwater management systems at the same rate, or to spend more and get it done quicker," he says.

North Shore City Council has widely publicised the issues through its newsletter entitled 'Dam it All', and its City Plan, both circulated last month (March). More information is available from the council or from its website, http://www.northshorecity.govt.nz, or by calling North Shore City Actionline on 486 8600.

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