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Targeted rates helping to improve environment and water

More biosecurity dogs, tracks made safe for kauri and major new infrastructure to reduce contamination and overflows into the Waitematā Harbour are just a few of the examples of work being made possible from Auckland Council’s natural environment and water quality targeted rates.

Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee received a progress report today on the targeted rates work programme.

Mayor Goff says the targeted rates have made a substantial difference to what the council has been able to do to protect and enhance Auckland’s environment.

“We only have one environment, so we need to look after it. We are investing $763 million over ten years to restore our natural environment and clean up our waterways,” says Goff.

“We are making progress on many fronts. So far 26km of tracks have been made kauri-safe in the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges and other regional parks. We’ve provided $1.4 million to support 110 community environmental initiatives.

"To reduce contamination and overflows into our harbours, $50 million in capital works have been procured by the Western Isthmus project in Daldy Street and Freemans Bay.

“The water quality targeted rate will help reduce wastewater overflows by up to 90 per cent and allow us to do in 10 years what would have taken 30 years – 20 years ahead of schedule.

“Auckland has had years of under-investment in our environment. This essential work will ensure it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Environment and Community Committee Chair Penny Hulse says that Aucklanders are passionate about their environment.

“We depend on a healthy environment and clean water for our physical and mental wellbeing. We are not separate from nature; we’re a part of it.

“I’m heartened to see so many projects being implemented, and individuals and communities coming together to restore our eco-systems. I’d like to thank the many volunteers and community partners that are doing their bit.

“While we have made a huge amount of progress over the last year in using this funding, there is still much we need to do. Let’s keep going.”

Key achievements from targeted rates so far

Natural environment
• 26km of tracks made kauri-safe in the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges and other regional parks
• 8 tracks closed tracks reopened in the Waitākere Ranges
• 88 per cent of kauri forest on council land under active management
• 7019 kauri trees treated with phosphate
• 18 per cent of all planned hygiene stations installed or nearing completion
• 12 per cent of all planned kauri track upgrades completed
• 3 new dogs and their handlers joined the biosecurity dog squad, to help keep the Hauraki Gulf Islands pest free
• $1.4 million provided to support 110 community initiatives
• 610 boat hulls surveyed to encourage cleaning to reduce the risk of spread of marine pests
• Three-fold increase in support to community groups and landowners providing tools for biodiversity management and restoration
• $1 million increase for possum control in regional parks
• More than 1040 rat traps set by the Eastern Bays Songbird Project to protect birds and native wildlife
• More than 120 local parks and 'buffer' zones prioritised for expanded weed and pest animal control
• $740,000 awarded to 34 successful applicants through the new Community Coordination and Facilitation Grant
• Three-fold increase in deer, goat and possum control on mainland
• 116 breeding pairs of kōkako in and around the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, up from 55 in 2014
• $200,000 top-up to the Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant to fund priority projects
Water quality
• $50 million in capital works procured by the Western Isthmus project in Daldy Street and Freemans Bay projects in Auckland Central, which will reduce contamination and overflows into the harbour
• $360,000 in grants have been given to 26 community groups and landowners who protect and restore urban and rural waterways
• 215 outlets screened on 28 beaches for further investigations
• 90ha of storm and wastewater networks inspected to help make beaches cleaner and safer for swimming
• 43,000 properties with private onsite wastewater systems have been identified by the contaminant reduction programme from legacy council documents
• 25km of fenceline was delivered by the Wairoa Waterways Protection Fund Extension project, protecting: 4.8ha of land from stock entering waterways
• Design work is underway to retrofit treatment devices into the existing stormwater network within the Glen Innes town centre
• A regional compliance programme has been set up with targeted investigations running in four high-risk catchments
• 40 per cent of contaminants (sediment and metals) to be reduced from those treated catchments
• 98 per cent litter to be captured from the Glen Innes town centre by end of 2020

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