No more love for moun­tain

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

Af­ter nine years the an­nual Love Your Moun­tain Day has been called off.

The Friends of Maun­gawhau com­mit­tee has de­cided not to hold the event on Mt Eden be­cause it has grown too large for vol­un­teers to run.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Ian Fish says the event, which at­tracts hun­dreds of peo­ple, can’t sur­vive with limited vol­un­teers.

‘‘We can’t af­ford to put all that time and ef­fort into it,’’ he says.

The day was run to show the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing and pre­serv­ing the moun­tain and also to let the public walk up the 196m vol­cano cone ve­hi­cle-free.

But the re­cent coun­cil de­ci­sion to block cars from driv­ing up the sum­mit means the event isn’t rel­e­vant any­more, Fish says.

The Maunga Author­ity voted in De­cem­ber last year to ban cars from driv­ing up the moun­tain. Buses were banned from driv­ing to the top in 2011.

For past events, the Gov­ern­ment House grounds and Eden Gar­den have been opened to the public for free on the day.

‘‘I don’t know what they are go­ing to do but I hope they will open the grounds some­time dur­ing the year again,’’ Fish says.

The event has been largely funded by pri­vate dona­tions and Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board con­tri­bu­tions.

Fish says while he feels re­lieved it’s fin­ished, he will still miss how the event brought the com­mu­nity to­gether.

‘‘It’s been a big part of my life for the last nine or so years,’’ he says.

‘‘You have some of the same peo­ple turn up year af­ter year and some­times that is the only time we see them.

‘‘It will be sad to see it go.’’

Photo: FREESTYLE EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

Last year’s Love Your Moun­tain Day was the last event.

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