New Grovetown Lagoon Management Plan Will Strengthen The Mahi
Not everyone knows but Marlborough has a special taonga.
“It is more than a beautiful place - it is also the community working together that makes Grovetown Lagoon special,” said Te Whanau Hou Grovetown Lagoon Society Inc. administrator Justine Johnson.
A new reserve management plan for the Grovetown Lagoon is seen as a way to continue the great mahi to date to protect this treasured place. Justine is overseeing the community engagement process for the Council which begins today.
Grovetown Lagoon, an old meander channel of the Wairau River, has become a popular area for walking, biking, picnicking, kayaking, food gathering and bird watching.
It includes a mix of Council-owned reserve, unformed legal road, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) land and Department of Conservation reserve. Te Whanau Hou Grovetown Lagoon Society Inc. was formally established in 2005 to manage its protection and restoration.
Te Whanau Hou means ‘a new family’ and this describes the partnership between Ngati Rarua, Ngati Toa, Rangitane, Department of Conservation and the Marlborough District Council which began in 2002 to improve the area. Local iwi had earlier come to the Council with concerns about the degraded state of the area. The bond between these parties is set to be elevated to a new status with work towards the reserve management plan now underway.
“The Society has been working to restore the Grovetown Lagoon for fish and bird life, to enable gathering of food and encourage recreational uses for close to 20 years,” said Justine.
“There is a wealth of natural resources at the lagoon and physical resources have been developed over time by the Society including a gravel walking track with bridges and culverts, car parking, a toilet, seats, picnic tables and a bird hide,” she said.
“It is envisioned that the new management plan will enable a mix of uses and values to be supported as well as putting in place policy to guide the day-to-day management.”
Feedback from the public about the proposal is now invited.
The draft reserve management plan will then be prepared and publically notified. “There will be a more formal opportunity for the public to provide written submissions and present these to a hearings panel if they wish,” said Council Parks & Open Spaces Planner Linda Craighead. The final plan is expected to be completed in late 2022.
A community management plan for the Lagoon was developed in 2003. There have been short term work plans written and implemented over the past 15 years however the community management plan has not been updated since 2003.
“It is important that on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of this unique water way coming under community management, that its future is enshrined in a document that better reflects the enhanced state of the lagoon in 2021/22 and sets out a way forward for those who will hold kaitiaki into the future,” said Council appointee to Te Whanau Hou executive, Cynthia Brooks.
The Society would like direction from the community as to how the area should be managed and how it is used, including what the community enjoy, possible improvements or any concerns users have about the lagoon.
Feedback or suggestions should be made in writing by 5.00 pm on Friday 27 August.
Feedback can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the online form at: www.marlborough.govt.nz/your-council/have-your-say-consultations.