Time to heal great rift in the Brook Valley

Ensuring the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is healthy and predator free is in everyone's best interests.
MARION VAN DIJK/STUFF

Ensuring the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is healthy and predator free is in everyone's best interests.

OPEN LETTER TO THE BROOK VALLEY COMMUNITY GROUP

For the time it takes to read this letter, put your emotions aside

People living in the Brook have for the past few years been caught up in a maelstrom of events, starting with small flyers, meetings and the intention to form a community group (BVCG). 

Tensions were high when Brook Valley protesters confronted contractors delivering pesticide ahead of the first drop.
ONE NEWS

Tensions were high when Brook Valley protesters confronted contractors delivering pesticide ahead of the first drop.

Fast forward three years, and the BVCG has by all means turned into a single-focus group against aerial pesticide drops in New Zealand, legally chasing the Sanctuary, Nelson City Council, the Ministry for the Environment and threatening to sue even more parties.

The BCVG Facebook page is a mix of information, opinions, but also thinly veiled threats to Nick Smith and others. Putting private addresses of so-called "opponents" on your Facebook-page is plainly bullying behaviour.

The general tone is very negative, blaming other organisations, persons and conspiracies.

A hole was cut in the predator-proof fence and a refueling tank was vandalised ahead of the first aerial drop.
CHERIE SIVIGNON/STUFF

A hole was cut in the predator-proof fence and a refueling tank was vandalised ahead of the first aerial drop.

The first pesticide drop has already happened in the Sanctuary.

While some loud voices within the BVCG predicted this would be the end of Brook Valley and Nelson Haven as we knew it, the sun still rises, the Brook stream is still clean, and birds are happily chirping.

Maybe the science and skills applied to make other island and mainland sanctuaries pest-free did have some merit?

As BVCG, you're now on a fork in the road and need to decide where to be in a year's time.

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One direction is to pursue the negative actions taken so far, probably getting more extreme to be heard and seen.

This will fracture the Brook community, raise legal cost for NCC rate-payers and NZ taxpayers, and has little chance of success due to the lack of scientific basis for BVCG's claims of "complete destruction of the eco-system" by aerial pesticide drops.

The other direction is to put aside big egos and emotions, and start working to heal this community.

NCC, Sanctuary and BVCG all want to improve nature in the Brook Valley. With the expected rise in birds within the Sanctuary, I am looking forward to increased numbers and more variety of birds in our backyard.

This Halo-effect can be assisted by trapping outside the Sanctuary.

So BVCG: here is the challenge! Take your proposal for Goodnature traps, talk to NCC and local landowners on suitable locations, use your social network to get people into the bush, and become a positive force in restoring nature.

Rather than being confrontational and negative, such a positive approach will also assist in bringing the Brook community together.

Money spent on lawyers should be spent on trapping!  I'm sure some old codgers at the Sanctuary can learn you a trick or two about trapping. And if you come up with a good plan, I'm happy to pay for and look after the first three Goodnature traps.

Towards a pleasant future,

Hans Wiskerke

Brook Valley, Nelson

 - Stuff

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