Four groups sign deal to clean lake

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 18/12/2012

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Four groups have signed a letter of intent to clean up Lake Horowhenua while some of those left out warn the accord will fail without wider involvement.

Five organisations have been invited by Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy to form the Horowhenua Lake Accord, with Mr Duffy steadfast that those invited are the only ones with the power to effect change on the lake.

The signing yesterday was a "solid step forward" towards his goal of having an accord drawn up by early 2013.

"I wanted it all done by Christmas.

"A realistic target now is the end of March."

Mr Duffy said he wanted an accord based on the 11 recommendations made in a report by Niwa scientist Dr Max Gibbs with measurable targets every two years.

"We've got to set plain objectives."

The five groups involved are the Horowhenua District Council, Horizons Regional Council, Horowhenua Lake Domain Board, the Department of Conservation and the Horowhenua Lake Trustees who represent the lake's 2000 Muaupoko owners.

The trustees did not sign the letter yesterday as they have recently held elections. The newly elected trustees are yet to hold a meeting where they can pass a motion to be involved in the lake accord.

Mr Duffy said he was hopeful of having the trustees on board soon as the accord could not achieve much without the lake's owners involved.

He was less certain about increasing membership of the accord beyond what he called the "only five influential groups".

Community groups who wanted to be involved in the accord could contribute to efforts to improve the lake's health during activities such as working bees, he said.

Horowhenua Residents and Ratepayers Association spokesman Bryan Ten Have said any organisation with an interest in cleaning up the lake should be allowed to take part.

"The membership of the lake accord should be looked at from a perspective of inclusiveness - any bonafide group that wants to be involved in this process should be. Rather than coming from a point of exclusion."

Mr Ten Have said his association wanted to be involved as ratepayers would be footing much of the bill for cleanup efforts and to reflect the level of community interest in cleaning up the lake.

"If it's really [Horowhenua District Council's] intent to clean this lake up, could they explain why nothing's been done in the last 10 years?"

Water and Environmental Care Association secretary Christina Paton said excluding groups from the accord could damage public support for lake cleanup efforts.

"To limit the number of people initially involved is not going to cater for the enthusiasm of the wider community [to see something done]. It will generate resentment and we don't need that."

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Weca had been involved in the Manawatu River Accord since it started and the model had worked well, she said.

Mr Duffy said the lake accord was different in nature to the river accord as the lake had only one owner, the trustees, and they had been invited to take part in the process.

- Manawatu Standard

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