Our AGM in February was well attended and as you will see from the minutes included in this Newsletter there was interesting discussion on a number of issues. There are changes to our committee with Lyall Beuth, Chris Russell and Ian Potter no longer being available for election. Their contribution has been significant and they will be sorely missed. However we are very pleased to have Debbie Surtees joining the committee and we look forward to her input to LOCA.
We would like to congratulate Ray Cook on his award in the New Year’s honours list for his contribution to business and sport, a very deserving recognition. We would also like to congratulate Mike and Sandra Goodwin on receiving the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary Rotorua Sunrise for their establishment ten years ago of Landcare Okareka. The contribution the Landcare volunteers have made to improve and maintain Okareka as a special place to live and play has been remarkable.
The following comments were part of the Chairman’s report to the AGM and are an update of the major issues in the past year: Recognition of the Lakes with the renamed Rotorua Lakes Council. The recent completion of the Tarawera Recycling Facility, open 7 days a week, which was a shared project between LOCA, LTRA and Lakes Community Board.
Rotorua Lakes Council giving LOCA the opportunity to manage the Boyes Beach Motor Camp with revenue going to LOCA for community projects. LOCA volunteers have now been managing the Millar Road DOC Camp for over two years and revenue continues to be significant, helped no doubt over the past summer by the fine weather. In the first instance funds will go towards the cost of the walking track between Boyes Beach and the DOC camp. Steady progress is being made by the volunteers forming The Walking Track and the completion target is the end of this year. Work is well underway to upgrade the outlet stream from Okareka to Lake Tarawera and should be completed in April. Whilst there is no water going into the Waitangi Stream at present due to the very low lake level, it should be back to normal for the trout breeding season.
Once again it is disappointing to note Cell phone coverage has not been forthcoming as quickly as we had been led to believe but the Telco consortium are confident it will be available by June 2016. This is the deadline to obtain funding from central Government as part of the high speed national broadband rollout.
Many of the residents of Okareka recognize the Environmental Importance of the Rotorua Lakes and we see ourselves as “Guardians of the Lakes” with the opportunity to maintain and improve the water quality and surrounds of the Lakes for future generations to enjoy. To this end LOCA and Landcare Okareka work closely with all the Councils and organizations involved in the Lakes and I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution made by the many Lake Okareka volunteers.
As a result of our involvement in Campground management and more recently with the recycling facility, it is very clear Rotorua needs to have a good look at the importance of the Lakes both to its image and the importance of attracting tourists and events etc. A good example is Boyes Beach where there is one old toilet block with two pans, no lighting and it services the Whaka Ama facility, campers (many from overseas) and the day picnickers who overflow the reserve when there are events on at the Blue Lake in summer. There are no recycling skips for glass and plastics and the blue bins are unsightly and unhygienic (no liners/lids and not washed). The opening of the walking track from Boyes Beach to the DOC camp will of course add more pressure.
As always we welcome comments on any issues of interest to our residents and property owners.