New trust could help tackle some of Upper Waitaki's environmental issues

A Love your Lakes sticker at Lake Tekapo.

A Love your Lakes sticker at Lake Tekapo.

Some of Upper Waitaki's environmental issues may be tackled by members of a new trust if an application for funding from the Ministry for the Environment is successful. 

Sustainable Coastlines founder Sam Judd spoke at the Upper Waitaki Zone Committee meeting on Friday.

He informed committee members about what his organisation could do for the area, beginning with a Community Environment Funding application of up to $300,000 from the ministry.

The money would be allocated over the next 10 years. 

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A new trust would be formed to hold the money, and members would receive training from Sustainable Coastlines on how to organise clean-up days and plantings for the community to be involved in.  

"It's the people that cause the damage and the people that fix up the damage, or stop it from happening in the first place," Judd said. 

"We are able to make it fun for people to engage in these things."  

The trust would also be advised on how to secure further funding in the future, and would initially have two objectives.

The first is a Love your Lakes (Lake Benmore) project and the second is the Willow Burn improvement project. The Willow Burn Stream was identified by the committee as a high priority issue earlier this year as it had high levels of nutrients, and stock damaging the habitat. 

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The Love your Lakes project is aimed at removing rubbish and weeds, and providing tools for educating the public on their impact on the ecosystem. 

Environment Canterbury (ECan) land management advisor Ian Lyttle said feedback on the idea of a trust had been positive. 

"People are a little bit cautious [asking] what's it going to entail, look like, but have expressed support," Lyttle said.  

ECan facilitator Nic Newman said the trust could act as a vehicle for delivering projects and attaining funding, linking up with what ECan and the Zone Committee were trying to achieve. 

Committee members discussed whether the community would embrace another trust, as two others had recently been set up, the Mackenzie Country trust, and a trust which deals with wilding pines.  

However, committee chairman Barry Shepherd said "I think we should embrace this, we are looking a gift horse in the mouth." 

Mackenzie Country Trust member David Stone said he liked the idea of a new trust, as the Mackenzie Country Trust would be dealing with land use.  

"I think our brief is much more abstract and broader," Stone said.  

Committee member Lisa Anderson said there were a number of issues in the area, but no one was actually driving a response. 

"I like the idea of a group that takes care of the issues, I commend the idea," she said.  

Judd said local trusts and charities were more likely to gain funding if Sustainable Coastlines led the process. The organisation would also have responsibility for delivering outcomes. 

Judd will write up a three year work programme, focusing on community involvement, riparian restoration, waste minimisation and community education for the application process, and Committee members agreed to write a letter supporting the application. 

Successful applicants would be invited to partake in application process stage two from July.  

 - Stuff


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