Moturoa/Rabbit Island plan
22 September 2016
Trail Improvements, Native Plantings and More Recreation Facilities
Planned for Moturoa/Rabbit Island
Improvements to biking trails, a new mountainbike park, new native riparian plantings and more picnicking and recreation facilities are among the key features of the Tasman District Council’s plan for the future of Moturoa/Rabbit Island.
Following an extensive public consultation process, beginning in November 2015 and ending with a public hearing in August 2016, the Tasman District Council has confirmed its final Moturoa/Rabbit Island Reserve Management Plan.
More than 600 people took the opportunity to let the Council know what they valued about the islands in the first round of feedback, followed by a further 275 who made submissions on specific elements of the draft plan.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said some of the strong messages that came through were the desire to retain the existing bike trails through plantation forestry areas on Moturoa/Rabbit Island, to keep the islands free of any further commercial activity, and to restrict the application of biosolids to existing areas, excluding Rough and Bird islands.
“As a result of that feedback we have made several changes to the draft plan. The islands’ importance for recreation and public enjoyment is very clearly acknowledged.
“We plan to make sure the things people love about Moturoa/Rabbit Island are retained and improved upon. We intend to maintain and improve the existing network of cycling and walking trails through the forested areas on the western half of Moturoa/Rabbit Island. More facilities such as picnic tables, barbecues, shade sails, toilets and the like are proposed to be added over time.
“We also want to progressively restore some of the coastal margins of the islands with native plants to restore habitat for indigenous species of the area.”
The key changes within the management plan are:
• Maintain and expand existing network of cycling/walking trails through forested areas on the western half of Moturoa/Rabbit Island. Expansions include extending Faulkners Track to link with Ken Beck Drive and enabling public use of the recreation reserve along Barnicoat Road.
• Develop a Grade 2 mountainbike park west of the existing mountainbike track in Conifer Park.
• Provide a link track for horse riders only along the eastern side of Ken Beck Drive to provide safe riding access between the Rough Island equestrian park and the front beach on Moturoa/Rabbit Island.
• Provide an alternative route for horse riders along Monaco Road at high tide to avoid damage to bird nesting and roosting areas.
• Possible upgrade of existing boat ramps.
• Provision to close the eastern half of Moturoa/Rabbit Island for three weekends each winter for organised game bird hunting events – this is on a trial basis.
• Extra recreational amenities over time, eg. Information hubs, toilets, picnic tables, barbecues, shade sails.
• Restoration of coastal margins with native plantings. A 20-metre native riparian buffer is proposed to be planted around the coastline of Rabbit, Rough and Bird islands.
• Undertake separate public consultation on changing the reserve classification for specific areas, including a new status of Scenic Reserve for some significant native habitat areas.
Mayor Kempthorne thanked the many individuals and groups who submitted feedback on the plans for Moturoa/Rabbit Island.
“It was very clear how highly valued the islands are, both from the number and quality of the submissions we received. The feedback has allowed us to develop a plan that reflects the community’s wishes and allows us to successfully manage the many different activities that take place there.”