Firstly congratulations once again to the Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Force on their winning performance at the Sky Tower Stair challenge in Auckland. Not sure how you train for this event but Phil and his team got it right. Well done.
Submissions to the Rotorua Lakes Council’s 10 year Long Term Plan have recently closed and included in this newsletter (pages 6 and 7) is the submission from the Rotorua Lakes Community Board which of course includes Okareka.
You will note the reference to a proposed new Waste Strategy where the Council’s preferred option for refuse collection is to move away from weekly bag collections to kerbside wheelie bins for refuse and recyclables. This system is cheaper than the existing paper bags but there are a number of drawbacks particularly around the “bush” settlement lakes (Tarawera/Okareka).
There is a lot more feedback required for this change and we hope Council will be flexible in perhaps offering different options for properties with steep access from the road and also for holiday home guests. One of the areas that will benefit from any improvements are the public reserves (Blue Lake, Boyes Beach and the lakefront at the jetty) that currently have the infamous unhygienic 44 gallon drums with no liners and no lids. Also there are no recycling containers at these picnic locations so much of the rubbish is glass and plastics.
Also unclear at present is the future of the very popular Tarawera/Okareka Recycling Facility. As if there aren’t enough submissions at present we also have A Representation Review which is a legal requirement for the 2016 Local Body elections.
The situation at present is:
12 Councillors elected from across the entire district
1 Community Board 4 elected members from the Lakes catchment and 2 Councillors.
The number of Councillors can be increased or decreased (6–30). The district could be divided into Wards as has been the case in the past. Community Boards can be established if there is a “community of interest” eg the Lakes. This review is an opportunity for all residents to have a say on the future governance of Rotorua.
Whilst it is not directly relevant to Okareka you may have received a notice from the Regional Council asking for comments on The Tarawera Restoration Plan. This is an Action plan similar to the Okareka Action Plan of 2004 that resulted in the installation of reticulated sewerage. The same action is strongly recommended for the Tarawera urban area but unfortunately, unlike the Okareka situation, there is no subsidy available for Tarawera sewage at the present time. The Restoration Plan is available on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website and contains some interesting history of Tarawera and the eight surrounding lakes that drain directly into Lake Tarawera either via surface or sub-surface flows.
As always we welcome comments on any issues of interest to our residents and property owners.