‘It has all gone’

Rub­ble ren­ders site un­suit­able

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By ADEN MILES

He stood in a bar­ren site at Lake Moananui’s north­ern tip – once in­hab­ited by shrubs planted by school chil­dren – and his re­vul­sion was clear.

South Waikato For­est & Bird’s Jack Groos has re­peat­edly raised his con­cerns with South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil about the re­moval of plants, in par­tic­u­lar one sec­tion at the lake’s north­ern point.

‘‘It has all gone, noth­ing is left,’’ he said at the site.

‘‘They say it is an op­er­a­tional man­ner. But look there is noth­ing here, just gone. All of that hard work . . . the kids plant­ing them . . . it is gone.’’

Coun­cil’s Parks and Prop­erty man­ager Greg Shaw said a ma­jor­ity of the plants died as a re­sult of the site not be­ing suit­able for plant­ing.

‘‘Plants were not thriv­ing in this area. On in­ves­ti­ga­tion we found con­crete, fill and rub­ble; the ground is sim­ply not suit­able for plant­ing. We are hop­ing to bring in some top soil to this area to al­low us to re­plant it,’’ he said.

Mr Shaw was ques­tioned when staff dis­cov­ered the site was not ideal for plant­ing.

‘‘It was dur­ing the plant­ing ses­sion that the coun­cil be­came aware of a po­ten­tial is­sue. How­ever, we were plant­ing with a 100 school chil­dren and the project was al­ready in progress.

‘‘A lot of the de­bris was buried and not ob­vi­ous when the site was ini­tially cleared ready for the plant­ing ses­sion,’’ he said.

But this is not the first time South Waikato For­est & Bird of­fi­cials have raised an is­sue about the treat­ment of plants at Lake Moananui.

Dur­ing her ver­bal sub­mis­sion at the Lake Moana-nui Re­serve Man­age­ment Plan hear­ings, so­ci­ety chair­woman Anne Groos spoke about the de­struc­tion of a kowhai tree.

‘‘The coun­cil thinks the in­ci­dent that Mrs Groos is re­fer­ring to ac­tu­ally hap­pened about 18 months ago when the coun­cil’s parks con­trac­tor was work­ing with some un­skilled guys un­der the gov­ern­ment Community Max scheme,’’ Mr Shaw said.

He said the sit­u­a­tion was dealt with at the time by the coun­cil.

‘‘From time-to-time when the con­trac­tor is spray­ing for weeds, some na­tive trees may pick up some spray drift and die as a re­sult. This is a nor­mal part of the re­serve main­te­nance. Ob­vi­ously an ac­cept­able level of care is taken . . . we are work­ing to change our ap­proach to pre­vent this hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.’’

WORK UN­DONE: South Waikato For­est & Bird’s Jack Groos in­spects the area once in­hab­ited by plants that were planted by school students last year. The shrubs are no longer there. HIVE OF AC­TIV­ITY: Dis­trict school chil­dren plant­ing the shrubs last year.

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