Area be­comes dump­ing ground

Katikati Advertiser - - Your Community Voice - By CHRIS STEEL

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.

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