Waikato Regional Council’s catchment services group has been granted a consent to remove just under 22 hectares of mature mangroves at Tairua on the Coromandel.
The consent, granted by the council’s resource use group, also covers seedling removal.
“This is great news for the Tairua community which has been keen to see action on the mangrove removal front for reasons such as improving recreational access around the harbour, restoring traditional sea food gathering areas and clearing stream channels,” said catchment services group manager Scott Fowlds.
“I’d like to thank the Tairua, Pauanui and Hikuai communities for the support and patience they have shown throughout the process of getting a consent.
“We have been able to use the lessons learned getting a mangrove clearance consent at Whangamata to streamline the process for Tairua.”
The consent was granted after agreement was reached with the Department of Conservation on the way the clearance will be carried out. The agreement means the council has been able to cancel a possible public hearing on the consent application.
“We are confident that the clearance framework we have developed, using information from the community, DOC, the council’s resource use group and Forest and Bird, will deliver an effective and positive outcome,” said Mr Fowlds.
He said a number of management plans needed to be developed before clearance can start.
“But we hope to get cracking with initial clearance by hand before Christmas and will look to progress other work as quickly as possible after that,” said Mr Fowlds.
The work will be funded by a charge of around $18 a household for the Tairua catchment.
That cost was agreed with the community in 2012 to support mangrove removal and associated works. This charge is to cover the estimated cost of the consent process, removal of mangroves, monitoring and mitigation.
The council’s Thames-Coromandel councillor Simon Friar said: “I am very pleased that the consent has been issued and that WRC was able to work with the various interested parties, and gained an agreement which meant that no expensive hearings process was required.”