Waioeka access blocked

NO ACCESS: Piles of gravel have been dumped in front of about a dozen public accessways to the Waioeka River from State Highway 2. The Department of Conservation has secured an undertaking from those responsible that the material will be removed by midday tomorrow. Picture by Anthony van Dorp

A PERSON who blocked off a dozen public access ways to the Waioeka River with piles of gravel has until midday tomorrow to remove them.

Over the past few weeks, upset anglers in the Waioeka Gorge have come across about a dozen areas off State Highway 2 where piles of gravel have been dumped, blocking vehicle access to popular river sites.

There are more than 20 access points from SH2 in the Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve down to the river. They are on public land, managed by the Department of Conservation (DoC), and lead to areas popular for fishing, swimming, kayaking and picnics.

DoC Whakatane Whirinaki Opotiki operations manager Jade King-Hazel said the dumping was unauthorised. DoC had secured an undertaking from those responsible that the material would be removed by midday tomorrow.

“The issues that led to this action were not matters that involved DoC, which only manages the affected properties,” she said.

Ms King-Hazel said she did not know the full details of the issues involved and it was not appropriate for DoC to comment on them.

A person The Herald spoke to, who is involved in having the material removed, would not comment on who dumped it.

“I don’t know who did it. It's not worth worrying about, as the material will be taken away today.”

Eight trailer-loads

They did not know why the access ways were blocked but eight trailer-loads of rubbish had been taken away from the sites.

Fish and Game Eastern region officer Anthony van Dorp said blocking the access ways was an “injustice”.

“These are really special sites. People have been very upset. To have them shut off is quite an injustice.

“They have been used for generations and are used all summer. Without these access points the only way to the river is through steep tracks, over difficult terrain, and parking on the edge of SH2 is quite dangerous.”

Fish and Game has a statutory responsibility to advocate for such accessways to remain open.

It has been talking with DoC and the New Zealand Transport Agency to get to the bottom of what happened.

“It is clear the material was dumped without authority from the appropriate agencies, and done deliberately to block access.”

Because of the type of material, he was certain it had not come from roading contractors.

“The Fish and Game position is we don’t want this to end up there long-term.”

He had heard of similar things happening around the country, but not to this extent, and never in the Waioeka Gorge.

“That someone has gone to the extent and trouble to truck loads of rock and pile it on to public land is pretty extreme.”

President of Whakatane Trout Fishing Club Dave Parker said many members had been in touch with him about the issue.

“We are very pleased DoC has made a commitment to get the material removed.”

The sites were popular for fishing and recreation, he said.

A PERSON who blocked off a dozen public access ways to the Waioeka River with piles of gravel has until midday tomorrow to remove them.

Over the past few weeks, upset anglers in the Waioeka Gorge have come across about a dozen areas off State Highway 2 where piles of gravel have been dumped, blocking vehicle access to popular river sites.

There are more than 20 access points from SH2 in the Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve down to the river. They are on public land, managed by the Department of Conservation (DoC), and lead to areas popular for fishing, swimming, kayaking and picnics.

DoC Whakatane Whirinaki Opotiki operations manager Jade King-Hazel said the dumping was unauthorised. DoC had secured an undertaking from those responsible that the material would be removed by midday tomorrow.

“The issues that led to this action were not matters that involved DoC, which only manages the affected properties,” she said.

Ms King-Hazel said she did not know the full details of the issues involved and it was not appropriate for DoC to comment on them.

A person The Herald spoke to, who is involved in having the material removed, would not comment on who dumped it.

“I don’t know who did it. It's not worth worrying about, as the material will be taken away today.”

Eight trailer-loads

They did not know why the access ways were blocked but eight trailer-loads of rubbish had been taken away from the sites.

Fish and Game Eastern region officer Anthony van Dorp said blocking the access ways was an “injustice”.

“These are really special sites. People have been very upset. To have them shut off is quite an injustice.

“They have been used for generations and are used all summer. Without these access points the only way to the river is through steep tracks, over difficult terrain, and parking on the edge of SH2 is quite dangerous.”

Fish and Game has a statutory responsibility to advocate for such accessways to remain open.

It has been talking with DoC and the New Zealand Transport Agency to get to the bottom of what happened.

“It is clear the material was dumped without authority from the appropriate agencies, and done deliberately to block access.”

Because of the type of material, he was certain it had not come from roading contractors.

“The Fish and Game position is we don’t want this to end up there long-term.”

He had heard of similar things happening around the country, but not to this extent, and never in the Waioeka Gorge.

“That someone has gone to the extent and trouble to truck loads of rock and pile it on to public land is pretty extreme.”

President of Whakatane Trout Fishing Club Dave Parker said many members had been in touch with him about the issue.

“We are very pleased DoC has made a commitment to get the material removed.”

The sites were popular for fishing and recreation, he said.

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James - 8 days ago
Obviously a complete nutter