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Uncovered stumps not driftwood
7 Sep 2015
A person who removed one of the Totara forest stumps recently uncovered at Okitu has been issued an infringement notice by Council. The man, who was seen removing stumps on Sunday, was spoken to by local residents and the police were also called. Environment and regulatory services group manager, Kevin Strongman says removing the stumps by chainsaw, digging them up or otherwise, is a breach of the Resource Management Act. “The stumps are protected as part of the Gisborne Regional Coastal Management Plan.” Where machinery or disturbance of the sand is involved then a resource consent from Council is required. People should be aware of the rules around the collection of wood on the Gisborne coastline. Collection of driftwood which is loose lying on the beach, by hand is fine. “Driftwood generally shouldn’t be collected from sensitive environments with high conservation values such as Okitu, Makorori, Muriwai and Te Wherowhero where it forms important habitat for native insects and lizards. “The stumps at Okitu are an important part of the history of the Gisborne coastline – which was once much higher than the current shoreline.” The man was stopped before taking the stumps away from the beach, however because of the nature of the offence, enforcement officers issued the infringement notice on Thursday. Read more >>
Community project grants now open
4 Sep 2015
Have you got a community project that needs a bit of extra support to get going? Two of Council’s community grants schemes, Mahi Nui and Mahi Iti are now open for community groups to apply. “We are taking applications for the Mahi Iti grant now, until Friday 24 September,” says contracts and funding advisor Julie Conder. “Community groups or voluntary organisations can apply for matching funds of $250 - $2500 for one-off community-led development projects.” The Council funding is granted based on matching the equivalent value of volunteer time, gifts in kind, donated services or other grants that the project receives. “Projects considered should help towards building a stronger, healthier community and funds used towards things like travel, promotion or personnel.” Ellen Jarratt of Jarratt Create & Educate, received funding from this grant in 2014. “The GDC Community Led Matching Fund enabled us to launch a 'Wake Up Creativity' Initiative to provide free high quality art workshops to families in our region. “The project’s aim was to stimulate and encourage participation in the arts and it certainly did that!” says Ellen. The artworks are permanently displayed in Tairāwhiti Museum to encourage others to take up the challenge. “Applications for more than $1000 will be invited to make a presentation to the Community Development Committee, who will award grants in mid-October.” “Anyone that has a more long term project can apply for the multi-year fund, Mahi Nui, which allows up to $10,000 for projects up to 3 years,” says Ms Conder. Projects don’t have to provide matching commitment from other sources but an emphasis on significant community engagement and volunteer involvement in projects that contribute to community resilience, development and well-being, caring for our natural resources or enhancing our region. Mahi Nui applications are open for a longer period, closing on Wednesday 28 October. All applicants are invited to make a presentation to the committee, with decisions made in early December. The Mahi Iti grant is available twice a year in February and August. Mahi Nui is a three yearly scheme and will not open again until August 2018. Read more >>
Minister visits Te Arai fresh water project
2 Sep 2015
The Minister for the Environment (MfE), Hon Dr Nick Smith was given an update on a project to identify and restore spawning habitats in the Te Arai River, when he visited the Gisborne region yesterday. Last year Council received funding from the Ministry to undertake a community-based pilot project within the Lower Waipaoa and Te Arai catchment areas to identify, protect and enhance inanga (whitebait) spawning sites. The minister visited the river at a Waingake Road property to meet with representatives of the project from Gisborne District Council, the Tairawhiti Environment Centre and Rongowhakaata. The project has been underway since December 2014. “It aims to develop the capacity within local community and iwi groups to identify potential fish spawning areas and to undertake restoration of these areas,” says environmental and regulatory services group manager Kevin Strongman. “Inanga are an important customary and recreational food source for people. “They’re also an important food source for other species, identifying and enhancing their habitat could result in positive cultural, social and ecological outcomes for the area. “The pilot will help us develop a programme for the rest of our region.” Earlier this year scientific advisor and native fishery expert, Hans Rook gave a public talk on restoring habitats for native fish and how this could be achieved in Tairāwhiti. Rook has been working with the project team to map spawning sites in the catchment, including the Te Arai and Maraetaha Rivers. “We’ve learned inanga lay their eggs at a fairly high tide in grassy areas around where the salt water meets the freshwater,” says Mr Strongman. “A spawning site may look like milk has been dropped along the grasses.” Preferred grasses are known to be tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera). Protecting these sites through fencing, vegetation management and excluding stock can contribute to an improved fishery. “Council can help to regulate activities around spawning sites like those proposed in the regional Freshwater Plan that will come into effect in October.” More work with Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tamanuhiri and the landowners will happen over the next few months with the final report to MfE due in December. Read more >>
Training wall walkway ruled out - stories still told
1 Sep 2015
Work carried out to investigate structural requirements for the river training wall has turned up some disappointment for the Tairāwhiti Navigations project. “Underwater investigations on the training wall has confirmed it could not support a walkway in its current state,” says chief executive Judy Campbell. A walkway along the training wall from Lone Star to the slipway was a highlight feature of the Navigations project within the inner harbour precinct. Diving teams have been surveying the training wall since June, to assist Council in planning the construction costs. “The engineer’s report identified load bearing issues in some areas of the wall. The cost to repair it up to the required standard exceeds the current project budget,” says Ms Campbell. “It’s disappointing but it means we can put more energy into the other infrastructure in the inner harbour, slipway, bridges, and the story-telling elements.” “We first need to ensure this is how Council wants us to proceed before going back to Eastland Community Trust to get permission to vary the funding contract.” ECT awarded $5m grant funding in 2014 for the development of the river training wall walkway. The project plans to enhance local landmarks with upgraded infrastructure and design features, and create a heritage experience trail. “The stories of our founding navigators like Kiwa, Paoa and Cook are unique to our district. These stories are the main attraction of the sites within this part of the project.” Research is underway, working with tangata whenua and historical data to gather the stories that could be told about early Māori and European navigators. “We’re exploring ways we can present these stories not just through art, but technology installations and online resources.” The construction elements are still being scoped for a clip-on walkway for the railway bridge and a footbridge over the Turanganui River connecting the slipway to the Waikanae Beach front. “There will still be access to the slipway via a new Turanganui Bridge and it will still be just as impressive in design as what we had envisaged for the training wall.” An inner harbour upgrade is also part of Navigations with the first stakeholder meeting held last week to get feedback on design requirements for upgrading the street scape, parking and amenities. Auckland urban design company LandLab will lead this design process. The project encompasses the restoration of Titirangi, Kaiti Hill, as an important part of the heritage trail. Pathways and storytelling will be created to connect with the inner harbour. “We will look at options for improving visibility and connectivity to the Cook Landing site, which is also a nationally significant monument.” The infrastructure, stories and interpretations in the inner harbour and Titirangi are the first stage of the project which is intended to extend to other historically important sites in Tairāwhiti. Read more >>
Unanimous for Joint Management Agreement
28 Aug 2015
A unanimous decision by Gisborne District Council yesterday will see the development Joint Management Agreement (JMA) formed with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou for the Waiapu Catchment. “A JMA is a logical progression of the existing Waiapu Accord and the Waiapu Kōkā Hūhua joint collaborative project to address erosion in the catchment,” says Mayor Meng Foon. “Heading into development of a Waiapu catchment plan and notification of the proposed freshwater plan for the region in October, “Council recognises the fundamental role Ngati Porou have as kaitiaki, as a source of knowledge, and acknowledges their interests in the future management of the awa. “In establishing a JMA, we will be the first in New Zealand to jointly share the functions, powers and duties under the Resource Management Act.” Council has been exploring options for co-management and co-governance of Waiapu with the runanga since January. A JMA would enable the runanganui and Council to join staff resources for research and development of a catchment plan for the Waiapu River and its tributaries, as well as joint decision-making on how water is used within the catchment. Catchment plans contain water quality and quantity objectives, limits and targets for individual waterways and wetlands. “From here, staff will draft the agreement with Ngati Porou representatives and attend a meeting with landowners to make sure they’re comfortable.” A paper will be submitted to Future Tairāwhiti on 24 September for discussion before heading to the October 8 full meeting of Council to be adoption. The proposed Freshwater Plan for the Gisborne Region is also due to be approved for public notification at the October 8 meeting. Read more >>

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