Area becomes dumping ground
A once popular picnic and fishing spot on Te Puna Station Rd has become a “bog hole” and dumping ground for rubbish and fill, leaving some locals unimpressed.
Brett Keller who lives nearby passes the site regularly. He said trucks are going by and using it as a dump.
“It’s disgraceful and it really annoys me.”
Keller said it used to be effectively a picnic area with grass and fence posts on it and families used to have picnics.
Bill (who did not want to give his surname), had been fishing at the site when I visited last week. He said he had lived in the area for 56 years and “it used to be a beautiful site”.
He has a lightweight boat that he pushes out from the water’s edge.
“People regularly come down to fish.”
When Bill arrived to the area the day before he found someone had dumped a pile of household rubbish.
“Me and the Mrs were going to the dump with our rubbish so I picked it up. It cost $8 to dump.”
Both men believed the area had changed two years ago when two 4WD vehicles formed a track and did “donuts” eventually gauging out bog holes.
Bill said he had to help one out who got stuck. Since then truckloads of dirt and tree roots have been dumped.
Keller has talked to Western Bay of Plenty District Council staff about the state of the area. He understood the area was meant to be used for the hordes of cyclists expected with the new cycleway.
“Council is not doing anything about it, they say it’s not big enough to be a reserve.”
The area of the “bog hole” which has been created by offroad vehicle use is treated as part of the council’s road reserve, said Garry Allis, Council’s group manager Infrastructure Services. The adjacent area is used for parking, river access and as a freedom camping site.
“Illegal rubbish dumping and hoon activity has been an ongoing issue here. We remove rubbish from the site when the pubic notifies us of illegal dumping,” Allis said.
He said the area will be developed and restored as part of the Omokoroa to Tauranga Cycle trail project.
“The cycle trail will be on the river side of Te Puna Station Rd and traverse through that area, across the drain and under the rail bridge.
There will be a gravel carpark that will be configured to reduce the ability for vehicles to do “wheelies” but will still be used by vehicles with bikes to unload and access the cycle trail.”
The area is expected to be a ‘hub’ or a starting point for the cycleway for recreational cyclists and walkers accessing the riverside walkway, he said.
The plan being developed in association with Pirirakau Hapu includes cultural recognition, flax gardens and sign boards telling the story of the land and the people.
The parking area, cycle trail and initial planting is planned for the first quarter of 2019 with the other elements to follow — subject to funding.
Once the development and restoration is undertaken council will maintain the area.
Allis said once the cycleway and site development is complete, council anticipates frequent use of the area by cyclists and other users will serve as a deterrent to anti-social activities.
Local resident Brett Keller is not impressed about the state of the area and the “bog holes” and being rubbish dumped.
This was once a nice picnic spot.