Some highlights from the first six months:
- We now have a strategic plan and thanks for all your feedback. The plan is not set in stone, and we want to keep hearing your views on what is important to you and what you think we should be focussing on. Really we want to build on what’s special about our place – looking after our natural environment and supporting the vision of a pest-free community, continuing to develop our walking and biking tracks and ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place to support visitation to Okareka, supporting our local community groups and volunteers in their work, and developing really strong and constructive relationships with the Department of Conservation, local councils and our community board, iwi and others. It’s remarkable how much feedback I get about how engaged, positive and constructive it is working with the Lake Okareka community and this is something we should look to protect.
- Through our partnership with the Lakes Community Board, we have been provided with an AED (defibrillator) that will be placed in the area of the Acacia Rd jetty and will complement the one already available in Steep Street; we also secured funding to support the local tennis club with its clubroom development; and funding to purchase some of the ‘goodnature’ self-setting traps to support neighbourhood pest control. The traps will shortly be available for residents to use. And we’re looking to amend our constitution to make it easier for our community vote using a proxy.
- We have put a lot of time and effort into working with both the Regional Council and Lakes Council on the serious issue of our very high lake levels. Through working with the Regional Council in particular, we have been able to help develop some temporary solutions and help the Regional Council communicate more effectively through our networks, and especially through our Lake Okareka Facebook page. There’s lots more to be done here – as an immediate issue that needs ongoing attention, and as a longer-term solution is developed. But excellent relationships are in place with the key agencies so we think the platform is there to progress this.
Our next priorities are to explore a connecting bike/walk track up to Tarawera Rd – both to keep our kids off the main road, but also to open up another recreation opportunity; to push ahead with discussions with key groups about how (or if) under-grounding our power-lines is an option for us; and to work more closely to support our fantastic groups (primarily Landcare Okareka, Forest and Bird, the Botanical Society) who are involved in pest and weed control. The abundance of tui, dabchicks, kereru, and mistletoe is a testament to all they do.
One thing we do always need is more families and individuals who can give a few hours to help with our work running the local campgrounds (the money from this work comes straight back into the community) and helping both Forest and Bird and Landcare with their working bees. These are great opportunities for families to give a bit back, for school students to gain some valuable community work for their CVs, and to meet people. Please contact either Sandra Goodwin or Geoff Palmer to hear how you can help - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
It feels good to be heading into Spring!