New walking track from Boyes Beach to the DOC Camp
Whilst not yet finished, the great response we are now receiving from the many locals and visitors who have and are walking/running the track has made it all worthwhile for the many volunteers working on the Lake Okareka walking track project. In some cases some volunteers have spent years making a contribution.
The community management of the Millar Road DOC camp that has funded much of this project has been significant. It was pleasing to hear recently from senior DOC staff that the Lake Okareka DOC campground rates very highly as one of their most popular camp sites. The track is not yet open for wheelchair or mobility scooter use. We will advise the public when this is the case.
Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council have announced the new Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw will not now be operative until October 2017 and not this year as originally planned. All rules relating to the use of lakes and coastal harbours and waters by people and water craft remain the same as in previous years.
New Rubbish Collection
This is scheduled to become operative on 31 October 2016, with the wheelie bins and plastic bags being distributed progressively during September and October. Details of recycling items and the operation of the Tarawera Transfer station will be advised shortly. If you have stock of the existing paper rubbish bags you can continue to use these as they have been paid for. The plan is for smart rubbish and recycling containers to be installed at the public reserves at Lakes Tarawera, Tikitapu and Okareka, but these may not be available until November 2016.
Lake Water Quality at Lake Okareka
The 2004 Action Plan for Lake Okareka catchment set a TLI target of 3.00 and this was to be met by the reticulated sewerage system in the catchment and land use change of 200ha from pasture and livestock to trees. The ratepayers at the time part funded the seweage installation at a cost of more than $12,000 per property. But the land use change target of 200 ha was not achieved.
The water in Lake Okareka has never met the TLI target of 3.0. The TLI has varied between 3.15 and 3.35 per annum, and currently the TLI is 3.20. This is not satisfactory and this fact is acknowledged by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and by Professor David Hamilton, from the University of Waikato, who with the students undertakes a lot of scientific work on the Rotorua lakes for BOPRC. Professor Hamilton has stressed the importance of reducing the Nitrogen and Phosphorus entering into the lake.
As a result the land use change target has now been increased to a further 100 to 130 ha and the Bay of Plenty Council budget has been set at $785,000 spread over 3 years to achieve this reduction. The 26 eligible larger land owners in the Lake Okareka catchment will be approached individually to reach agreements with the BOPRC on a voluntary basis.
Lakes A Zone
The Rotorua Lakes Council A Zone Plan is now more than 10 years old and under the Resource Management Act this plan is subject to a statutory review in 2017. Some rural landowners in Lake Okareka catchment area have expressed some interest in subdivision and development and are wanting certainty of what the new Lakes A Zone may look like for this catchment before making any land use change decisions. This review is likely to take at least two years and will create a lot of interest as further subdivision could also provide an added incentive to change land use.
The LOCA Committee is currently preparing a survey of a number of issues that have already and will in the future, impact on residents and ratepayers at Lake Okareka. It is important we receive comments back from as many as possible. Continuing pressure on the lakes from events, tourism, etc over the summer holidays is one obvious issue. We will have details on how we plan to manage the survey shortly.
As always we welcome comments, suggestions and photos on any issues of interest to our residents and property owners.
Definition of TLI - Trophic Level Index
The TLI or Trophic Level Index is an indicator of the environmental quality of the water of a lake. It is composed of two biological and two chemical components. Each of the 12 Rotorua lakes receive an annual Trophic Level Index (TLI) reading, which measures total nitrogen, total phosphorus, clarity and Chlorophyll a. The lower the TLI figure, the better the water quality of that particular lake. The TLI is calculated annually for each Rotorua district lake. Bay of Plenty Regional Council use data collected from the testing results from monthly water samples taken from each of the 12 Rotorua lakes.