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Have your say on water-based activities at Kai Iwi Lakes

Have your say on water-based activities at Kai Iwi Lakes

People keen to have their say on the future management of water-based activities at the iconic Kai Iwi Lakes are being urged to make submissions on a new Northland Regional Council (NRC) bylaw.

The Navigation Safety Bylaw for Kai Iwi Lakes was drafted by the regional council and sets proposed rules for keeping people safe in and on the water there.

It’s designed to support and enable the Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Reserve Management Plan, adopted by Kaipara District Council (KDC) last September, which sets out how the lakes will be managed and developed over the next 10 years.

The draft NRC bylaw aims to enable the many different water-based uses of Kai Iwi Lakes – such as swimming, boating, waterskiing, jetskiing, kayaking and board sports – in as safe and sustainable way as possible. (The Kaipara District Council is considering how best to manage land-based activities.)

Chairman Bill Shepherd says the regional council is seeking submissions on its bylaw, from Saturday 01 July to 4pmWednesday 02 August. (This formal submission process follows informal consultation held over summer.)

He says from an NRC perspective, the draft has been designed to reflect the aspirations and objectives set out in KDC’s management plan for the lakes area, the latter reflecting a strong public desire to manage and protect them to keep them pristine and safe.

“The draft of the district council’s reserve management plan attracted more than 1000 submissions with general support for revegetation, weed and pest control and the restoration of the native flora and fauna. Iwi also wanted to see the lakes’ ecosystem and traditional fishery restored.”

However, as the KDC itself had observed, beneath this common vision, submitters held ‘widely differing views’ as to what activities should be allowed and the regional council’s proposed navigation safety bylaw was one way of addressing this as far as water-based activities were concerned.

Chairman Shepherd says after summer’s initial informal public feedback, several changes had been made to the regional council draft including;

• Allowing boats in the nook at the North-West end of Lake Taharoa (at low speeds of up to five knots) because it is a popular and safe anchorage adjacent to a camping area
• Extending dedicated swimming areas in Lake Taharoa
• Rearranging the access lanes so a swimming area can be incorporated on the northern side of the lake, and widening the access lane on the northern side of the lake
• Reducing the five-knot area between the boat ramp and the ski lane to 100m (instead of 200m), to create a larger area where boats can exceed five knots.

Chairman Shepherd says to use the lakes, power-driven vessels would also be required to get a permit, for a small fee.

“Fees would be used to help cover the cost of buoys, beacons and other navigation safety costs. These daily or seasonal permits would be available on-site, and would be required before launching.”

Chairman Shepherd says the district council administers and co-governs the Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Recreation Reserve with Te Roroa and Te Kuihi through the Taharoa Domain Governance Committee.

“This committee has set the strategic direction for the development of the Taharoa Domain for many years, alongside iwi, lake users and the community.”

He says the committee wants the Kai Iwi Lakes and its environment to be enjoyed by all visitors while enhancing the area and reducing risks through ongoing monitoring, cumulative knowledge and active management.

“The NRC is keen to ensure any decisions it introduces to fulfil its responsibilities as a regional council are made from the most informed position possible. Public feedback on the proposed navigation safety bylaw is crucial to that.”

More information about the regional council’s proposed bylaw is available online via: www.nrc.govt.nz/lakesbylaw

© Scoop Media

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