Bad HCC decision at Waiwhakareke

Posted 3 years, 7 months ago    0 comments

What a difference a few months and an election can make-

Sadly our new council has made a terrible decision at a council meeting yesterday and reversed the September 2013 decision (see last year's article below) - so much for Council demonstrating its commitment to the project. This just shows the short-sightedness of some of our newly elected conservative councillors. Only four of the old hands voted against reversing the decision.

Walking through the beautiful old trees in Parana Park I think how fortunate Hamilton is to have benefitted from the Beautification Society's activities back in the early days, preventing greedy developers from grabbing what would be top real-estate. Due to their grit and foresight it has remained public space, but now, unfortunately voters have lumbered us with some councillors  who  do not seem to understand or  care about preserving or increasing our biodiversity. The subdivision so close to the lake was always a bad idea, and now Professor Clarkson's words in September ring a bit hollow “What we’ve gained here, from an ecological point of view, is much greater control of the catchment of the lake, and therefore its restoration.”

We have just lost that again! So - time to start contacting your councillors, writing some letters, express your dismay at this decision and the importance of keeping this piece as part of the reserve.  Short-term gain from potentially selling this land off to developers will not benefit the project, and lessons should be learnt from all the other lakes around the region being negatively impacted by their surrounding catchments. This is a prime example of one that should not be built on.

Katherine (my personal rant)

Last year's press release from Council -

27 September 2013

Hamilton City Council has today voted in favour of expanding the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park on the city’s western outskirts.
 
During today’s Ordinary Council meeting, Councillors voted 10-3 in favour of returning five hectares of land set aside for subdivision to the 60-hectare park.
 The five hectares of land had been tagged for a “Smart Subdivision”, which would have required any new houses built to be eco-friendly, energy efficient and modelled on principles of urban design and sustainable development.
 Sally Sheedy, Hamilton City Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Manager, says the transferral of the land to the park demonstrates Council’s commitment to the project.
 
“This is good news: Waiwhakareke is one of Hamilton’s most important natural areas, and since 1975, it has undergone extensive replanting and restoration work. The work at Waiwhakareke is strongly supported by a range of agencies and volunteers, for who the natural environment is extremely important,” Miss Sheedy says.
 
Waikato University’s Professor Bruce Clarkson, Chair of Waiwhakareke Advisory Group, welcomed Council’s decision, praising it as “visionary”: “Council needs to be congratulated for this decision – they clearly understand the nature of inter-generational projects like this one.”
 
Professor Clarkson says careful thought will be given to how the additional five hectares can be integrated into the wider Waiwhakareke plan.
 “What we’ve gained here, from an ecological point of view, is much greater control of the catchment of the lake, and therefore its restoration.”


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Shim