Saturday, December 26, 2009

bio-security breach?

It has been reported that the noxious weed nutgrass has been planted on land owned by the Thames Coromandel District Council and the Department of Conservation (i.e. ratepayer and taxpayer). Some of the infested land runs along the shoreline others along side residential property.
The District Council first noticed the nutgrass in late November 2009. On the 2nd of December the District Council asked the marina company, in writing, to eradicate it and the marina company and HeB the contractors agreed to do this.
It is the Regional Council that is responsible for the bio-security of Whangamata. Until the 22nd of December the Chairperson of the Regional Pest Management Committee knew nothing of the bio-security breach, though he is in the marina company. On hearing of the situation he informed a staff member who said the first step would be to positively identify the plant.
Subsequent research from AgResearch and NIWA state that the plant is Purua grass or Bolboschoenus sp. A native plant of wetlands and coastal areas.
Maybe the plant should have been checked at the beginning by the contractors and the marina company.

Naming rights?

The marina company announced through the local Member of Parliament that they would be naming features they created after themselves including the lights.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unatural features

Some cultures name natural features after ancestors or as reminders of their creation story. Thus it is with the marina company. Unnatural features created by the marina and their company are named after those who helped generate these brand new unnatural characteristics of the Whangamata landscape.
· Buddymaunga – Thinks it’s a mountain but is a little hillock.
· Matherson Falls – All patched up after a recent outburst.
· Berry Drain – Debris run through it.
The marina and their company have even planted a forest on the slopes of Buddymaunga, and they have named it Don grove.
It’s a shonky tourism policy creating artificial features.
A marina suits a place where there is already something of a natural basin (including depth) and which can access the open sea without dredging.
Unforeseen problems arise otherwise.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soft energy attracts.

The Whangamata estuary is one of the shallowest on the east coast of New Zealand. Over 75% of its water volume leaves the estuary at low tide. Over 80% of the estuary’s area is exposed at low tide. These large inter-tidal flats attract shellfish that attract bird life including dotterel and godwits. It’s been like that for a few thousand years.
At the entrance to the Whangamata estuary is a sand delta. The flood delta is inside the entrance to the estuary and the ebb delta is outside the narrow estuary entrance. The ebb delta is known as the Whangamata Bar, one of New Zealand’s most iconic surfing spots and one of the best sandbar surfbreaks of the world. Surfing is a non-powered sport.
New technology is creating more types of non-powered craft. An example in the last 10 years are “sit on’s”. Sit ons are small rowing craft similar to an open canoe made out of extruded plastic. They are relatively cheap and have been taken up by many.
A more recent craft is the stand up surfboard. This allows the Whangamata Bar to be surfed even when it breaks less than 1 foot. Many people have also taken this up. It takes some practice to use them. Non-powered craft is where the increase in water traffic is taking place. Non-powered craft do not need marine estate.
The non-powered craft zone at Whangamata has been removed by the Councils to facilitate marine estate. If marine estate is threatened by wild life the Councils will back marine estate.
Both the District and Regional Council ran campaigns against surfing on the Bar in the New Zealand Environment Court. The District Council took it to the High Court. They continue to threaten surfing at Whangamata. The focus of Councils in the coastal marine area and coastal land area is to smooth the progress for those involved in the business of marine estate.

Number of moored craft in Whangamata on 29 November 2009.
Pole moorings – 21 boats. Swing moorings – 29 boats. Marina – 81 boats. 7 hardstand.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shonky tourism policy

Click on image to enlarge.