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.