Views sought on healthy rivers

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An informative open day will be held locally on proposals aimed at boosting the health of the Waikato and Waipa rivers.

The Waikato River at the Narrows, Tamahere
The Waikato River at the Narrows, Tamahere

Nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and bacteria levels are rising in the waterways – issues that need to be tackled now to ensure the health of the rivers in the future, says the Waikato Regional Council.

“This is a great opportunity for the likes of farmers, growers, businesses and the general community to understand the detail of what’s being proposed in this ground-breaking plan,” said Waikato Regional Council chief executive Vaughan Payne.

“We have put in place an extended period for submissions to be made through till March next year. These open days will help people make informed submissions that help us reach workable solutions to the complex issue of water quality in the Waikato and Waipa rivers.”

The Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora Proposed Regional Plan Change 1 was approved by the council last month for public notification.

“Water quality has consistently been identified as the number one issue for Waikato people for the past two decades,” said Payne.

“What we do now to improve water quality in our rivers, through mechanisms such as the ones proposed in the plan change, will determine the future state we leave them in for our children and their children.

“As a generation we have a window of opportunity to make these changes to improve the water quality in our rivers. If we do nothing now it will be much harder to fix in the future.”

Payne said it was important for people to put their views forward. “These are your rivers, this is your plan, make sure you have your say. The opportunity to influence a major policy like this only happens once in a decade. The significance of this for community and landowners should therefore not be underestimated, and council is doing everything possible to help people make informed submissions.

“The open days are designed to maximise understanding by enabling one-on-one discussions between council staff and potential submitters.”

The open day will be held in the Matangi Hall, 483 Tauwhare Pl, from 3pm to 7pm, Thursday, December 8.

More open days are planned in the new year. The full proposed plan change is available online at Healthy Rivers.

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