‘It has all gone’
Rubble renders site unsuitable
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.