Over 1000 sign ORC pe­ti­tion


Over 1000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion ap­peal­ing to the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil to take ‘‘prime re­spon­si­bil­ity’’ to tackle an in­va­sive weed from Lake Dun­stan and as­so­ci­ated wa­ter­ways.

Guardians of Lake Dun­stan mem­ber Howard An­der­son said he would present the pe­ti­tion at the next full coun­cil meet­ing on June 28.

The pe­ti­tion asks the coun­cil to pro­vide ‘‘di­rect fund­ing and re­sourc­ing of pi­lot pro­grammes aimed at com­bat­ing this pest’’, la­garosiphon.

‘‘We want the ORC to con­trib­ute with money and be seen to be do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive to be get­ting rid of the weed, bring­ing it un­der con­trol. We want some ac­tion and money will fix the prob­lem but it will be a chunk of money. We want the prob­lem to be re­solved how­ever much money that takes and they have the money to do it with. ‘‘

Lake Dun­stan was the coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and ratepay­ers were un­happy with the coun­cil’s con­tri­bu­tion to look af­ter the qual­ity of the wa­ter and con­trol the weed ‘‘that has the po­ten­tial to turn this lake into a rot­ting mess, cre­at­ing foul wa­ter that noth­ing would want to live in’’.

‘‘I’m a fish­er­man, and I re­alise the ben­e­fit of hav­ing lake weed...but la­garosiphon, oxy­gen weed, we don’t need or want.

‘‘Skiers don’t like ski­ing through it, swim­mers can’t swim through it and if tan­gled, some swim­mers could drown. Lots of ar­eas boats can’t drive through it. All around old Cromwell - the Cor­nish Point area - the banks look aw­ful to tourists and lo­cals.

‘‘The lake edges look so bad peo­ple are mak­ing choices that don’t help Cromwell.

‘‘They move on to Wanaka or Queenstown.’’

Land In­for­ma­tion New Zealand and Con­tact En­ergy each put $50,000 yearly to­wards the con­trol of this pest weed, and LINZ helped tidy up some high use ar­eas, but it was not enough, he said.

‘‘A lack of funds mean they are only able to fit a bandaid to a very bro­ken body.

‘‘If Queenstown and Frank­ton got la­garosiphon in their lake there would be an out­cry.

Coun­cil­lors needed to do what their vot­ers wanted, and not just what they wanted, ‘‘like build a $45m cof­fee house with some of­fices’’.

In May, LINZ pledged an ad­di­tional $50,000 of fund­ing to tackle la­garosiphon in Lake Dun­stan, and propo­si­tioned the coun­cil to match that fig­ure.

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