Good attendance at the Annual General Meeting of the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society, held on Saturday July 27, indicates a continuing healthy interest in the Society’s work.
In his speech, Chairman Trevor Downey acknowledged that foremost in most people’s minds is the mangrove issue and what has been perceived by some as an apparent lack of action following the Environment Court hearing in May 2012. He presented a letter from the Society’s legal representatives to bring the community up to date, the substance of which is reproduced below:
“The MHRS was successful on appeal in securing consent to remove mangroves from four of the seven areas sought. The areas for which consent has been secured are Lincoln Street, Molesworth Drive to Moir Point, “Sand” Island, Insley Street Causeway and Black Swamp Road. The areas declined by the Environment Court are Back Bay, Back Bay South/Kainui Street arm of the harbour, and Riverside to Tern Point.
The Environment Court requested further clarification on the Insley Street and Black Swamp area, given that the evidence of the Landscape Architects in the appeal hearing indicated a preference to retain a small number of mangroves to assist in visually screening the causeway bridge abutments from the seaward side. A revised map of that area was prepared and submitted to the Court making allowances for retention of mangroves in limited specific locations adjacent to the Insley Street causeway.
Since the Court released its judgement granting consent to four of the seven areas applied for, considerable time has been spent in trying to resolve the final conditions of consent with Northland Regional Council and S274 parties (notably Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird). Many of the issues raised by these parties within the final consent conditions were not supported by the evidence heard by the Court and, in some cases, lacked proper environmental purpose and were instead improper attempts to introduce new issues or re-litigate the Court’s rulings in favour of the MHRS.
Final proposed consent conditions were submitted by the MHRS to the Environment Court on 3 May 2013. When subsequently inquiring about the Court’s process in resolving the conditions, we have been informed by court staff that: The matter is currently with the presiding Judge. The Court is hopeful that the matter can be resolved on the papers. Parties will be advised of any directions as soon as they come to hand.”
The community will be advised when the Court has made its final judgement on mangrove removal.
Over the past twelve months, the MHRS has been quietly working away on its regular projects.
The MHRS Executive is ever mindful of and thankful for the generosity and dedication of the large band of volunteers without whom the MHRS simply wouldn’t exist: nursery volunteers, dredge maintenance, planting teams, rabbit control.
Election of Officers
Trevor Downey (Chairperson), Loraine Hartley (Deputy Chairperson), Ray Welson (Immediate Past Chairperson); Convenors – Doug Lloyd (Dredging), Warren Stott (Distal Spit), Jerry Pilmer (Nursery), Colin Bennett (Special Purpose – Upper Harbour Project), Loraine Hartley (Publicity). Graeme Smith (Liaison – DOC); Secretary – Margaret Smith; Treasurer – Deanne Spiro.