Firstly once again congratulations to the Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force on their team winning performance for the third consecutive year at the Sky Tower Stair challenge in Auckland. Lead by Phil Muldoon the seven man team ran up the fifty one floors carrying 25kg of equipment and raised $5418 for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ.
The other good news is that we finally have full Mobile Phone Coverage at Okareka, Tikitapu and Tarawera. The consortium of Vodafone, Spark and 2 Degrees are using the same tower and there is also improved broadband reception. There are still “black spots” on Spencer Road at Tarawera but the engineers are confident these can be eliminated.
In the light of the availability of mobile phone coverage in the area a LOCA circular was recently delivered or posted to all property owners at Lake Okareka asking for an update on their address, phone, and email contact details. We received a good response and are now better able to improve communications with the community. Thank you.
The committee continues to be concerned with Vehicles Speeding in the residential area and illegal parking where there are yellow lines on the road (Loop Road). Council’s Road Safety Coordinator is currently preparing a report on appropriate signage and other measures that can be considered to ensure possible accidents at the school bus stops etc are minimized. The traffic problems are of course greater over summer and in particular when lake/road closures for events are in place.
Council are currently meeting with all communities to ensure there are minimal problems when the new Waste Strategy contract becomes operative on July 1st. The new contractor is Smart Environmental and in future there will be a change from the current paper rubbish bags to wheelie bins and/or plastic bags for both rubbish and recycling items. The changeover will take time and should be completed by the end of October. The Tarawera recycling/transfer station will be retained and expanded as Tarawera will not have wheelie bins nor a bag pick up service so residents and visitors will be required to drop off their rubbish/recycling themselves. This is necessary due to narrow winding Spencer Road not being suitable for a large truck pick up. Public Reserves Tikitapu, Boyes Beach, Jetty lakefront etc will have separate wheelie bins and recycling for rubbish, glass and plastics etc.
It is Council’s intention that as these reserves are important to the up market image of the Rotorua lakes that attract many visitors and tourists more attractive waste containers will be provided.
The DOC campground and Boyes Beach reserve benefitted from the great summer weather and financial returns were ahead of the previous year. There were also many favourable reports from campers on the cleanliness and management of the DOC camp making it all worthwhile for the camp wardens.
The Rotorua Council appears keen to promote Freedom camping in Rotorua however there have been problems in other parts of the country with illegal camping resulting from the rubbish and lack of toilets etc.
The Rotorua Lakes Community Board represents the residents at Tarawera, Lake Okareka, Rotoiti, Rotoma and Rotoehu and whilst the Board acknowledges that freedom camping is not illegal we believe we are well served by campgrounds around the lakes and these should be promoted for “overnight parking in public places” and not to promote freedom camping. The Rotorua lakes deserve better. N.B. The writer currently chairs the Community Board.
The availability of Cell phone coverage at the lakes will be a very real asset to both the campers at Lake Okareka and the camp wardens as there is always the possibility that problems may arise with vehicles not starting, medical, disruptions from undesirables and safety etc.
The other new asset that we are all looking forward to is the walking track from Boyes Beach to the DOC camp. Whilst not finished as yet it is already being well used by the campers, Lake Okareka and Rotorua residents. Comments to date have all been extremely positive and whilst it has taken a number of years to get to this point we all owe a very big thank you to Landcare Okareka, all the volunteers that have been involved, the trusts for their financial contributions, staff from the Lakes Council, staff from DOC and of course the “A” team of Brian Law, Mike and Sandra Goodwin.
As always we welcome comments, suggestions and photos on any issues of interest to our residents and property owners.