Environment Waikato is seeking help from swimmers, boaties, water-skiers and other recreational users of the Waikato region’s waterways.
The council is holding public meetings across the region starting this month as it seeks people’s input for its Navigation Safety Bylaw review.
The bylaw sets out safe practices for waterway users and aims to reduce conflicts between different activities.
“The meetings are a chance to tell us about any safety concerns you have about our region’s lakes, rivers, harbours and coastal areas,” Environment Waikato navigation safety team leader Shelley Monrad said.
Some recreational areas were under increasing strain due to a recent explosion in the popularity of water sports such as kayaking and kiteboarding, she said.
“Over the past few years, for example, about 10,000 new kayaks have been sold in New Zealand annually – that’s about 60 per cent of all boats sold – which is resulting in some new pressures.
“The bylaw review is a way of keeping up with these trends and adjusting for changes to national regulations, to ensure people can enjoy water sports safely.”
Environment Waikato’s existing Navigation Safety Bylaw became operative in 2006. Since then a number of comments and suggested changes have been recorded and these will also be incorporated into the review.
Some of these issues include the visibility of kayaks, the naming of vessels and new zoning for Lake Maraetai and the upper reaches of Tairua Harbour.
The public meetings will be held around the region from September 27 to November 20.*
The existing bylaw, which covers all navigable Waikato waterways except Lake Taupo, is available at Environment Waikato and district council offices. It is also available at www.ew.govt.nz/navigation, or by calling 0800 800 401.
*Public meetings will be held at the following locations:
· Whangamata, War Memorial Hall, September 27, 10am.
· Tairua and Pauanui, Tairua Pauanui Sports Fishing Club, September 27, 1.30pm.
· Raglan, Town Hall supper room, September 30, 6pm.
· Tuakau, Tuakau Memorial Hall, October 8, 6pm.
· Lake Maraetai, St Johns Hall, Mangakino, October 11, 10.30am.
· Lake Ohakuri, Atiamuri and Whakamaru, Whakamaru Ski Club, October 11, 2.30pm.
· Kawhia and Aotea, Kawhia Community Centre, October 18, 11am.
· Lake Karapiro, Waipa District Council committee room, Wilson St, Cambridge, October 22, 6.30pm.
· Thames, Thames War Memorial Civic Centre, October 29, 6pm.
· Coromandel, Citizens Hall, November 1, 10.30am.
· Whitianga and Whangapoua, Whitianga Town Hall, November 1, 2pm.
· Hamilton, Environment Waikato council chambers, November 5, 6.30pm.
· Mokau and Awakino, Brisco St bowling club, Awakino, November 8, 11am.
· Marokopa, Coast Community Hall, November 15, 11am.
· Lake Arapuni, Waipa District Council Office, Te Awamutu, November 20, 6.30pm.