High lake level – As all will be aware there has been the average year’s annual rainfall in the first 6 months of this year and consequently the ground is sodden. All lake levels are very high and this has resulted in slips, flooding and erosion around the lake edges.
We have met with both the District and Regional Council staff and they have checked storm water drains, the outlet pipes and control valve to ensure everything possible is being done to lower the level.
It has also given a strong message to BOPRC to proceed with the proposed upgrade of the outlet structure as soon as possible.
Unfortunately there is a requirement to obtain Resource Consents for part of this work so it could be several years before we see any improvements.
Lake Weed Cordon – As you see, the Regional Council is very concerned at the spread of noxious weeds in the lakes and all boat launch areas around the popular lakes are to have weed cordons installed. Residents have been asked for feedback on the proposal for Okareka and if you have any concerns or suggestions, please forward these to Hamish at BOPRC with a copy to Sandra Goodwin (see page 20)
Please note that following consultation with residents, there have been 3 suggested locations for the cordon and the photo in this newsletter shows the preferred option (page 22). This is not the layout of buoys currently in the lake near the boat ramp (as of 25 July).
DOC Millar Road Reserve – Since the upgrade at the end of last year, this beach / campground has been very popular with both day picnickers and campers / campervans. In conjunction with DOC, community volunteers have helped with the management and maintenance of this area and the road access has recently been closed till late August to ensure the landscaping regrassing is in place for next summer (and for campers visiting for the Rugby World Cup).
A number of residents have already volunteered their time to help and we would like to hear from anyone who is interested in this project.
Boyes Beach Reserve – The District Council has designated several of their lake reserves as official overnight camping facilities and one of these is Boyes Beach. This is a result of recent publicity of the growth of “freedom camping” in NZ and concern at hygiene problems when campervans with no toilets park overnight in areas with no toilet facilities.
There will be restrictions on the number of nights (2) a campervan can use this facility and also the number of vans per night (6). There will also be an “honesty box” and charges will be similar to DOC camping grounds.
Lake Events – Queen’s Birthday weekend saw the inaugural off-road winter multi sport festival at Okareka with a number of well patronised events including an 8km kayak/paddle race around Okareka followed by a cycle leg up Loop Road and down to the Whaka Forest and finishing with a run through the Redwoods. The organisers had asked for volunteers from the community to assist and these were forthcoming from the Fire Brigade and LOCA/Landcare Okareka. Apart from the heavy rain prior to the event creating some parking problems on the Royal's farm, it all went well and augers well for next year's events.
Social Activities – Despite the weather not cooperating, a well attended fun night to celebrate Neighbours Day was held in the woolshed at Playnes Farm on March 26 and hopefully will become an annual event.
Bastille Day was also a good excuse for a fun night at the Hall on July 16 with a joint Tarawera/Okareka promotion of The French Connection cabaret trio of Monica and Maurice Lewis and Sarah Bradley from TV1’s “Good Morning” show.
Coming up in September is a “Spring into Spring” get together at Playne’s farm. More information will be circulated shortly.
New Bus Shelters – You will have noted that at long last we now have 2 smart school bus shelters however the third at Calder and Loop Road was not considered in need of replacement at this stage.
Farewell Tony – We are about to lose our popular “Postie” who is moving to Picton to be closer to family and we wish him well for the future. Tony was always happy to help out where he could and he will be missed.
Keep warm and take care.