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Passionate response to harbour strategy

MEDIA RELEASE


Passionate response to harbour strategy

For immediate release: Wednesday 29 November 2006
Ohiwa Harbour’s future is in the hands of people who care.

The community is strongly supporting a draft strategy that will help protect Ohiwa’s special qualities for future generations.

The Draft Ohiwa Harbour Strategy, which is open for submissions until mid-December, has attracted a lot interest locally.

Environment Bay of Plenty resource planner Claire Battersby says over a hundred people attended the series of public forums run by the regional council. “It is obvious people feel very passionately about the harbour and want to make sure it is protected for future generations.”

Ms Battersby says similar concerns cropped up again and again in discussions. They included the increase in sediment in the harbour, mangroves, and the need for more enforcement officers to stop over-fishing. Many people want better walkways around the harbour and improved access generally. Kaitiakitanga, or Maori guardianship of the Ohiwa environment, was a major focus for Maori. Another issue widely discussed was whether Ohiwa Harbour should be nominated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The draft strategy was put together by Environment Bay of Plenty, Whakatane District Council, Opotiki District Council and local iwi after intensive community discussion. Once signed off, probably in mid-2007, it will be used to shape future planning and management. It identifies issues, and key community values and aspirations. It recommends actions that will help take the harbour and its catchment from where it is now to where people want it to be in future.

Ms Battersby says it is important that people give feedback on the draft’s content. Submissions close on December 15.

Please call Environment Bay of Plenty on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) for a copy of the draft strategy or go to www.envbop.govt.nz. You can also pick up a copy from local libraries and district councils.

A shared treasure
Call Environment Bay of Plenty for a copy of Ohiwa Harbour – Shared Treasure, a free booklet about the harbour and its environment.


ENDS

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