Spring shut after ‘hammering’
Officials have put an end to swimming at a picturesque Putaruru spring.
After an ever-increasing number of visitors, swimmers will no longer be able to take a dip in the deep Blue Spring at the Te Waihou Walkway.
During the summer, the spring became a popular spot for swimming with its inclusion in a Stuff series about New Zealand’s best kept secrets.
Photographs taken by the Department of Conservation show the effects of people swimming in the Blue Spring area between November 2014 and February 2016.
‘‘The impact is extremely clear,’’ Fabrie said. ’’We have always presented the Te Waihou as a walkway. It is not a swimming hole. The Blue Spring is not a swimming hole.’’
Fabrie said council had heard from numerous people in the community with their concerns of people swimming.
‘‘They said the beauty and the serenity of the area was completely destroyed.’’
Fabrie said typically, about 10,000 to 11,000 people would use the walkway during any given year. However, during November, December last year and January this year, numbers skyrocketed.
About 4500 people used the walkway in November, 5000 in December and near 9000 in January.
‘‘Our infrastructure was not designed to cope with those numbers of visitors. The entire walkway took a hammering and the Blue Spring area took a hammering.’’
Chair of Raukawa Settlement Trust, Vanessa Eparaima, said the area is of great cultural significance to Raukawa.
‘‘We need to work together to protect the puna and environment. We encourage all visitors to take in the beauty of this area and enjoy its pristine waters, but please refrain from swimming within the puna.’’ Fabrie said council will not permit mobile food traders at the Leslie Rd entrance, and the fence line will soon be shifted to the legal front boundary which will reduce the number of parking spaces.
There will also be no additional temporary, or permanent toilets installed, other than a toilet at the Whites Road entrance.
Council intends to develop a co-management plan with Raukawa and other parties for the Te Waihou and work with them.
People will no longer be able to cool off in the Springs’ waters.