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Lake future up for debate

The future of Masterton’s Henley Lake is up for debate. PHOTO/FILE

MARCUS ANSELM

[email protected]

The shape and future of Masterton’s Henley Lake will be put to ratepayers after Wednesday’s extraordinary district council meeting.

Masterton councillors will weigh up two options on the lake’s future at the 12pm meeting at the council’s Waiata House headquarters.

Henley Lake was conceived as a recreational area in the 1960s and was built in the 1980s.

It is currently considered off-limits because of toxic algae.

The lake is fed water through a water race from the Ruamahanga River, which runs adjacent to the park.

This is allowed through a resource consent granted by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Three small streams also enter the lake, but the primary water source is necessary in order to maintain lake health.

This consent has now lapsed, and changes to Regional Plan rules have made getting a new one a harder task.

The complexity means continuing the existing resource consent application would make “a positive outcome would be extremely uncertain”, assets and operations manager David Hopman said in a Masterton District Council [MDC] report.

The report offered two options to put to ratepayers as part of MDC’s Annual Plan consultation.

One option recommended only taking water from the river when flows were above the minimum, without making any changes to the lake.

The second approach would be to have a wetland area within the lake margins.

Councillors Gary Caffell and Chris Petersen sat on the working party set up on the matter.

Caffell said he was prepared to fight to keep the lake is it is.

“I’d like to see the council fight hard to make it happen. I’m certainly not giving up that fight at this stage.

“It does seem to be because of the consent processes from the GWRC that it’s going to be a battle.

“But I’d like to see us put the gloves on and see the lake stay as it is.”

Petersen said the effects of climate change would make change inevitable.

“Over time, I think we’re just going to have to bite the bullet and admit it will be difficult to maintain the lake level’s overall conditions.”

Whichever option passes would be included in the council’s annual plan consultation document, set to be released next month.

-NZLDR

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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