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Published: 2003-09-12 00:00:00

Public access to the Waikato’s shallow lakes should be improved, according to Environment Waikato’s Environment Committee.

The Committee heard that there was considerable room for improving public access to some of the 100 lakes in the Region, with priority given to those in public ownership. More work should focus on establishing access to lakes in private ownership where appropriate.

Freshwater ecologist Grant Barnes said work had been done to determine the degree of public access to shallow lakes, most of which were less than 10 hectares. Ownership varied from public land administered by agencies of the Crown, to land in private ownership.

Thirty six percent had no public access at all, and six percent of these were in Crown ownership. Nineteen percent had only ‘paper’ roads which were often not marked. Publicly owned lakes without access included Lake Ngarotoiti in the Waipa district and lakes Komakorau, Kaituna, Pikopiko and Hotoananga in the Waikato district, he said.

The Waikato Regional Policy Statement provided for maintenance and enhancement of public access along lakes and rivers, except where safety, defence or security purposes required limits or where sensitive areas required protection.

The study will now examine how much access there is to waterways including the main stems of the Waikato, Piako, Waipa, Waihou, Awakino and Mokau Rivers.