The Lake Okareka Camp Ground and day picnic area off Millar Road has continued to be popular and we are very fortunate in having a team of competent and dedicated volunteers responsible for managing this facility with revenue exceeding all expectations.
Boyes Beach has been able to accommodate some of the larger campervans and provide an alternative venue at peak periods and we expect demand to increase with the projected increase in overseas tourists.
RDC have recently commenced resurfacing the Walkway to the outlet and in conjunction with Landcare have replanted the areas in front of the toilets at the Lake Front, Steep Street and Boyes Beach, also pruning and replacing trees/shrubs on the reserves.
There has been a tidy up of the Lake Front Reserve. As there has been much interest in this area, I urge you to read the article/sketch with suggestions to ensure all regular users of this area (dog owners, tourists, swimmers, boat owners, fishermen, picnickers etc) appreciate that for better or for worse tourist numbers to the Rotorua Lakes will continue to increase. The Harbour Master has very real concerns for swimmers’ safety in this area. Feed back for this proposal is very important to LOCA.
The impact on the lake of the discovery of Hornwort is a serious issue. The initial report from Regional Council staff recommended it was not practical to eradicate and it should be managed with herbicide control only in areas with amenity and recreational value (Boyes Beach and the DOC campsite). This has been strongly opposed by both LOCA and the Lakes Community Board with excellent support from our local Regional Councillor, Neil Oppatt. As a result the Regional Council has now reviewed the report and eradication is a real possibility. The revised report is included in this Newsletter.
The very low lake level in the early part of the year highlighted the need to fast track the upgrade of the Outlet Structure/Piping which has been on our annual plan submissions to the Regional Council for a number of years. The current pipe through to Tarawera was installed in 1964 and there has recently been a CCTV camera used to evaluate its condition. We look forward to the report which will also contain a review of current operating guidelines.
The Water Quality of Okareka is being watched with interest as it is now more than two years since the reticulated sewerage was installed and according to the Regional Council the target for Okareka has been met. The target was set more than 10 years ago at the pollution level of the lake in 1964 despite pastoral farming in the catchment going back to the 1920’s.
The pollution reduction in the lake should show on the annual TLI (Tropic Level Index) reading with a reduction from 3.4 to 3.0.but to date there has been no change. Therefore to better track the change LOCA have asked for the monthly TLI readings for both Tikitapu and Okareka as the septic tanks feeding both lakes were removed at the same time. The only difference is that there is no runoff from pastoral land at Tikitapu but there is at Okareka. Council have indicated they do not think it would be helpful to release these figures as they “fluctuate wildly” from month to month!!
The recent arrival of the new Fire Engine has resulted in some excellent publicity and interest from the community with a very popular sausage sizzle ensuring many braved a chilly evening to be amongst the first to experience the very latest in fire fighting equipment.
A number of issues involving cost savings that may affect Okareka have been taken up with RDC and we are awaiting responses once the annual plan is finalised. These include:
- closing the Steep Street toilet over winter.
- frequency of mowing reserves & road edges
- opening hours at the Tarawera/Okareka transfer and recycling station
- community hall drainage and carpark upgrade.
Fenella Playne has very kindly offered her services to provide a regular feature to the Newsletter where she will alternate an interview with one of the older residents of Okareka and then one of the more recent arrivals, so we better get to know our neighbours. Thank you Fenella.
In case readers are not aware there is an excellent history and photos of the Playne family, Longford Farm and Lake Okareka in the latest edition of NZ Life & Leisure Issue 49.
It is very pleasing to note the ongoing update of the LOCA website, www.lakeokareka.org and the links it now has to many of the relevant aspects of life at Okareka so a big thank you from us all to Kierin Oppatt.
Take care of one another and stay warm.