Draft plan for future of Rabbit Island released

Published: May 5, 2016

News type: Local news   

The Tasman District Council has used the hundreds of public comments it received on the future of Moturoa/Rabbit Island to draft a reserve management plan that will guide the area for the next decade.

Community Development Committee chairperson Judene Edgar said the public was invited to make comments on the draft plan before it is finalised. Cr Edgar said a total of 660 people and groups let the Council know what they love about the islands, what they think should change and what needs to stay the same in the initial feedback round that ended on 29 February.

“The plan aims to retain the special character of Rabbit, Rough and Bird islands - which was the overwhelming message we received from our initial call for feedback.

“Part of the vision for the islands into the future is that generations of visitors continue to experience and enjoy the low-key outdoor recreation opportunities in a natural setting, free of development and commercialism.

 “The draft plan is intended to manage some of the potential conflicts between uses on the islands – for example, between the commercial forestry operation and recreation, or in providing dog exercise areas - while working to protect and restore the natural environment and making some improvements to the recreational opportunities on offer.”

Some of the key changes proposed in the draft plan include:

  • Changes to the layout of cycling/walking trails on the western half of Moturoa/Rabbit Island. Public access to the forestry plantation will be restricted, and a single trail provided around the coastline in addition to a shorter loop via Barnicoat Road
  • The development of a Grade 2 mountainbike park west of the existing mountainbike track in Conifer Park
  • New tracks for horse riders only along the eastern side of Ken Beck Drive and along Monaco Road at high tide
  • Progressively adding recreational amenities such as toilets, picnic tables, gas barbecues, shade sails and information hubs
  • Restoration of some of the coastal margins of the islands with native plants to improve habitat for indigenous species
  • The possibility of upgrading or developing new boat ramps
  • Possibly allowing biosolids application on part of Rough Island

Cr Edgar said: “The existing situation where different parts of the area are made available for different purposes – such as Rough Island for dog walking, and the front beach separated into zones for swimming, blo-karting, horse riding and so on, will stay the same. We think this remains the best way to reduce the potential for conflict between different uses and make sure everyone can enjoy the islands in the way they choose – now it’s your opportunity to let us know if you agree.

“We have tried to make sure the proposals reflect the public’s desire to see the essential character of Moturoa/Rabbit Island kept intact, and to keep the islands free of further commercial activity. We want to know if people think we’ve got it right, or if we need to make some changes.”

Consultation opens on Saturday 7 May and people can view the full draft management plan and make a submission at Council offices or on its website, tasman.govt.nz/feedback. Submissions close on 8 July 2016.

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For more information please contact LGNZ’s Director of Advocacy, Helen Mexted, on 029 924 1221, email helen.mexted@lgnz.co.nz

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