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Cover of Lizard News Issue 1

A new free community newspaper for the wider Wairoa River to Aongatete area has arrived.  Read it online at lizardnews.net

Some 260 Post-It note comments (and supporting ticks) were left by residents on the Community Plan Review Group’s boards. Thanks to all who provided such a wonderful and thoughtful response.

Naturally, there were some “hot” topics:

  • Omokoroa Reserves (other than The Domain) (42)
  • Domain/Esplanade/Parking/Boat Ramp (30)
  • Provide for a secondary school (23) – A Ministry Of Education issue
  • Sort out SH2 and the Omokoroa intersection (20) – A NZ Transport Authority issue
  • Trees (14)
  • Rubbish and recycling (13)
  • Cellphone reception (13)
  • Water taxi / ferry to Tauranga (13)
  • Slips (11)

There were other issues raised that the Council, Community Board and Community Plan Review Group have no control over, e.g a Drycleaner and a Village Pub.

You can read the all the feedback here

 

In the pouring rain at the end of Tinopai Drive, on Friday 5 August 2016, the official party of Western Bay Mayor, Ross Patterson, Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges, and Tauranga Mayor, Stuart Crosby, turned the first sods for the new Omokoroa to Tauranga walkway - cycleway.

Ross Patterson, Hon Simon Bridges, and Stuart Crosby, turn the first sods

 

Real work has finally begun on the long awaited Omokoroa - Tauranga Walk/Cycleway.  For the last three years we have been told that the work would start before Christmas. This year that promise has actually come true.

Walkway work underway

UPDATED

Media release

Omokoroa reserves will not be sold, says Western Bay Council

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has decided against selling reserve land in Omokoroa following strong objection from the community.

Council received 148 submissions on its review of the Kaimai Reserve Management Plan of which about 85 percent were from the Omokoroa community.

Many Omokoroa submissions objected to the part in the Plan referring to Council's option to investigate divesting itself of reserve land that was no longer required for utility purposes.

Residents stressed the importance of reserves being retained to protect the natural beauty and stunning views of Omokoroa. With the increase in development on the peninsula, they said the importance of retaining recreational areas is vital to guard against reserve land being sold into private hands and potentially developed into housing. Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson says the strength of opposition has left councillors in no doubt that it is not an option to include the divestment option in the final Plan.

Although the Plan is not due to be formally adopted until September and Councillors have yet to meet for final decision workshops, Ross says he wants to put the Omokoroa community at ease over the issue immediately.

"Omokoroa is experiencing renewed growth and the people have told us how important it is to see reserves retained.

"They have told us that reserves are their pieces of paradise where birdlife can thrive, where people can enjoy places to walk, picnic, relax and play today and in the future

"We clearly got the message that reserves are treasures people do not want Council to tamper with and that they are a necessary component to a community's healthy lifestyle. We have listened to the community and give our assurance that this Council will not divest of reserve land in Omokoroa.''

Ross says this is an example of how the public submission process can highlight issues of importance to the community.

The decision not to investigate the sale of reserve land is specific only to this review of the Kaimai Reserve Management Plan.

 

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A public meeting was held on 25 May 2016 at the Settlers' Hall to consider the Review of the Kamai Ward Reserves Plan. The Council has suggested the selling off of part of Precious Reserve, a section of Nell's Dell and and land on Holyoake Terrace on Lynley Park, primarily to service some of the Council's debt.

With more than 120 people in attendance, public interest was high. The agenda was led by Murray Grainger representing OEMI, Greg Knell, Peter Presland with Don Cameron (Chair of Community Board) and Councillor Garry Webber.

Aim of the Meeting - to discuss the reserves that may be for sale.

Speaker Garry Webber:  

Garry outlined the background to the Kamai Ward Plan.

* The by-laws need review every 6 years. (Every reserve in NZ).

* This is a continuous process which allows for adaption according to changing needs and circumstances.

* 2 months notice must be given to the public.

* Councils must listen to comments from the public and community.

* An individual may make a submission on paper/email or verbally in person at a designated meeting.

Q - (question from the audience)  Have I missed a part of the plan i.e to develop further community facilities - or is it just selling reserves?

A - (Webber) The plan is wider than the selling reserves issue.

Speaker Don Cameron:

Kamai Ward is just one part of Western Bay. The Community Board will propose to Council:

1. Holyoake - the Board does not support this sale

2. Lower Lynley Park - more details are needed to make a decision on this scrubby land.

3. Nell's Dell - Board does not support the sale of this low value land

4. Precious Reserve - Board does not support the sale. This was purchased by the council from the Precious family and is part of storm water control. Public access but not vehicles on foreshore. Drainage issues are being dealt with.

5. Cooney Reserve. An area for passive enjoyment like bird watching. Previous funds allocated to this area could be diverted to Precious Reserve

6. Lynley Park - A concept plan is needed

7. Prole Road (adjacent to Waipapa River) funding could be diverted to another reserve

8. The Esplanade and Domain - A concept plan is needed as parking is the main issue. By 2021 Omokoroa is predicted to have a population of more than 5000. Feedback from community needed.

9. Omokoroa Library and Service Centre is needed to expand; Tralee Street is a possible site.

10. Western Avenue Sports Field - plans afoot for more tennis and possibly cricket.

Q - Where would the road come into Precious Reserve?

A - Use the existing road at the end of Hamurana Road.

Q - Will we have better facilities - showers etc, at Western Avenue?

A - In the long term plan

Q - Does Precious Reserve include the Golf Course boundary along to Kaylene as there are prohibited signs keeping public out on the Golf Course?

A - That is an Esplanade Boundary and the Golf Course will look to amend signs. Aim really was to keep public safe by preventing general wandering around the Golf Course.  The Esplanade reserve is 20m wide but tidal erosion eats into that 20m strip.

Q - We need to include more boat ramps in the plan to allow for more shore access.

A - (Webber) the rate payers will have to foot the bills.

Speaker Greg Knell:

''The issue is the proposed sale of disposable land. The people of Omokoroa should be guardians of the reserves. If we sell them we won't get them back.''

Murray Grainger - The full draft may be viewed on www.omokoroabeach.nz/news

The position - Reasons why there is opposition - because the asset sale is not in accordance with the strategic plan for Omokoroa. There is absence of a community mandate. There needs to be clear direction and support from existing plans. We must speak out otherwise the decision may be at the whim of Councillors who may or may not have an interest in Omokoroa. The community interest suggests a no sale decision. It should be deleted from the Kamai Ward Review.

Q - Is this a scaremonger tactic to side track the community so that other decisions are pushed through?

A - (Councillor Don Thwaites) The council did this to try and pay off debt Some Councillors are asking who is funding Omokoroa's growth? - The message should be ''Green spaces are precious''

Q - to Garry Webber 'Why didn't you defend Omokoroa?

A - No reply

Q - (from a developer) I have sold sections fronting Precious Reserve, my clients will not be happy!

Q - Do you have a timeline for the decisions?

A - Approximately 6 weeks, by mid July.

Q - Is there an opportunity to take this off the table?

A - No the due process must be followed.

Speaker - Peter Presland:

In summary; ''We are passionate about where we live so don't ride rough shod over the people who live in Omokoroa.'' Clr Margaret Murray-Benge ''I disagree with Peter, we must follow the process. The community does speak''

Q - We must review our regional development plan.

A - Karen Loten from the floor showed the meeting a copy of the 2010 Omokoroa Community Plan and stated that this is what needs to be reviewed; Don Cameron said this was in hand.

Q- Clr Gwenda Merriman '' take the opportunity to take part in the Reserve and Community plans.

Peter then asked the meeting to sign the draft petition if they agreed with the draft proposal as outlined by Greg.

The meeting closed at 8.05pm

MAKE YOUR SUBMISSION NOW

Please provide feedback to WBPDC about the sale of reserves and on any other matter in the Draft Plan before 4pm, Wednesday 15 June 2016.

Feedback can be:

- posted to: Chief Executive Officer, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Private Bag 12803, Tauranga 3143; or

- faxed to: 07 577 9820; or

- emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or

- delivered to the main Council Office at Barkes Corner, Tauranga or Council's library and service centres at Main Road, Katikati; McDonnell Street, Omokoroa; Jellicoe Street, Te Puke or Waihi Beach Road, Waihi Beach.

Opportunities to talk with Councillors about your feedback will be available at a 'Have Your Say' session to be held on 12 or 13 July 2016, (or both) at a time and venue to be decided.

The background documents are here: Part 1 (85 pages) Part 2 (124 pages)

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