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News in Brief

Keep dogs leashed
The playground adjacent to the Mangawhai Heads Camping Ground is for public use and is becoming more and more popular as time goes by, but some families report a disturbing trend by dog owners who walk their pets in the area without a leash leaving them to freely ‘do their business’ in and around the swings and slides, polluting the area which is strictly for the use of families and children.

The area is well signed but warnings are being flouted by some dog owners. As the use of the playground is expected to be high over the holiday period, dog owners are asked to respect the rights of others to enjoy this facility.

Don’t forget your car seat says Plunket
With the holiday season in full swing, Plunket would like to remind families that every time a child travels in a car they need to be in a car seat or booster seat.

If family or friends are going to be driving the kids around over the holidays Plunket can help with a short-term hire for a few days or weeks.

For a car seat to perform correctly in a crash and protect your child it needs to be installed correctly.

Give your local car seat service a call and make a time to get the seat checked. They can also advise about the best car seat for your child’s age and weight, and one that is best suited to your car.

Phone the PlunketLine 0800 933 922 for advice and to check availability or visit plunket.org.nz.

Rubbish bins for campers only
While rubbish collection days around Mangawhai may not suit everyone, every person and household is responsible for their own leftovers.

Campers at Mangawhai Heads Holiday Park generate large amounts of rubbish that is collected regularly over the holiday period, but the bins they use are for campers only.

Camp Managers Richard and Noela Gunson report that members of the public and some boaties have been regularly using the camp bins as a convenient place to drop off their own personal rubbish.

“Some people drive across town to dump their waste in the bins which sometimes can include inorganic items and even broken furniture,” says Richard. “We have to pay for the emptying of camp bins so it’s not fair for the general public to use them when, for a couple of dollars, they can purchase the council blue bags from several places in town and dispose of their waste like the majority of residents.”

While not wanting to sound like the Christmas Grinch, Richard says any non-campers depositing rubbish in the camp bins may be charged or at least asked to discontinue the practice.

NRC offices close for Christmas, New Year
All Northland Regional Council offices will be closed from 2pm Tuesday, December 24 until 8am Friday, January 3, 2014 for the Christmas-New Year holiday break.

The closures apply to the council's main office in Water St, Whangarei and its offices in Kaitaia, Opua and Dargaville.

The council's 24/7 freephone Environmental Hotline 0800 504 639 will still be available for people to report environmental or maritime incidents during the holiday period.

Maritime, environmental response and hydrological staff will remain on-call during the break and the council's annual summer swimming water quality monitoring programme will also continue. Results are posted every Friday on the council's website at www.nrc.govt.nz/swimming.

Water conservation a good idea
As summer weather arrives it’s time to start thinking about conserving water.

While there are no indications that this summer will repeat last year’s record-setting drought in Kaipara, Dargaville only received just over half its normal November rain and this followed a very dry October.

“Also, soil moisture levels haven’t fully recovered from last summer so we are starting at a disadvantage,” says Kaipara District Council’s Operations Engineer - Water Services, Brian Armstrong.

He says Kaipara water supplies are currently in good heart and the Waiatua Dam, which supplements Dargaville’s supply in dry weather, is full.

“There is certainly no need for any restrictions yet but usage is shooting up on hot days so it is time for residents to start thinking about how they use water. Also to remember is that water saved is money saved.”

Just small things like ensuring taps are turned off properly and leaky ones fixed are good ways to ensure you get value from every litre of water.

Kaipara District Council’s website www.kaipara.govt.nz lists other ways of saving water.

Great prizes at Waipu Christmas Eve Parade
Planning a float? It’s free and open to all local businesses and community groups, but time is running out! There are serious prizes to be won thanks to support from the Whangarei District Council: First $1,000, second $500, third to sixth $100. Entry forms from Judy Guy at Waipu Real Estate office in The Centre, 432 4000. Did you know there is also a $100 prize for the best dressed Christmas themed onlooker at the parade? Dress up and be in to win.

This event is organized by the Waipu Business and Promotions Group. And also please support Tyla’s BBQ fundraiser for her India trip to help underprivileged children. Zippy’s coffee will also be there.

More time for public input on moorings
The public has been given an extra two months to comment on a local authority rethink on the way mooring and marina space should be allocated around Northland over the next 50 years.

Growing pressure on limited mooring and marina space around Northland's coast prompted the Northland Regional Council to release a Draft Mooring and Marinas Strategy for public feedback last month.

Public comment was invited until Monday December 16 on the draft strategy, which aims to address both current and future management issues around how and where boats can be moored in Northland as a whole. However, that deadline has now been extended until February 28 next year. Submissions already made will not be affected by this time extension, but if people decide they would like to withdraw their submissions to do further work they can do so and re-submit before the new closing day.

Information about the proposed strategy is available online via www.nrc.govt.nz/haveyoursay or by contacting council policy analyst Michael Payne on 0800 002 004.

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