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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 >>
Last updated: 11/03/2015 7:08am Copyright © 2007-2015 Gisborne District Council

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