The AGM of 2018 was, in one special way, a significant occasion. After seven years as convenor and 18 on the committee, Chris Bettany has retired. Her commitment to the long term well-being of this part of the city continues, though, in her work as a local board member. Her careful attention to detail and her eloquent pleadings for money have contributed to the high standing of the society and enabled us to achieve what seemed impossible – participation in last year’s Environment Court hearings.
Despite no decision from the Court (as of writing), the society is forging ahead into what may be a new era. Pat Baskett is now convenor, Peter Townend continues as deputy and all members of the old executive were keen to continue their roles.
We have been invited by Auckland Council to participate in their Okura-Weiti Contaminant study and have already met with officers for briefings on the parameters of the study and to determine our role in the process. This will involve employing, and paying, our own modeller to work alongside and provide an overview of the Council’s work.
The study is planned to run from April to October.
The continued vigilance of a couple of members on the executive alerted us and the media to the recent massive die-off of the cockle beds. No explanation has been forthcoming but it’s hard to dismiss, as a cause, the effects of plumes of silt that have poured into the marine reserve with each heavy rainfall.
Protection of the marine reserve, along with the concept of a Great Park – even greater, given population pressures – remain the Society’s raison d’etre. Only the detail of our activities are likely to change once we learn whether the judge allows, or not, another 1000 houses to be built on the estuary’s southern shore. Watch this space!