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Coromandel Heritage Region 

Here is the start of a whole new hoop-la that has been going on in the background for some time with Chris Adams of Miles Marketing Destinations in the lead role. I think we can take it as read that this was the purpose of the 'closed door workshop' that followed yesterday's meeting of the EDC. Chris was the brains behind the Hauraki Rail Trail at the outset, though he dropped from sight shortly after it got going. 

Here is the presser that was put out today, and here is the 12 page Public Summary of the document Chris has prepared. And here is the 54 page Feasibility Report and Recommendations 

That should keep you busy tonight and possibly tomorrow as well. I will come back with aditional comments when I have read the Report. 

What Chris is proposing, and might I say, the idea was latched on to with alacrity by his good friend the Mayor when it came up earlier this year, is to seek a National and then International designation of the International Union of Conservation in Nature (ICUN) Category V Protected Landscap for the Peninsula. It sounds pretty grand, but probably well worth the effort. 

I am not sure of the cost involved - or even whether expenditure was approved by Council - it will surely not be an inexpensive exercise with the additional three consultants who were apparently employed on the task. Chris has a World-wide reputation in this area, and I guess we are fortunate that he lives, or has a bach here. It is certainly a high-powered group who have been brought together to produce the document. 

The summary does give a tantalising view of the advantages of achieving the status  suggested in the Report - there is nothing similar in this country, and the advantages of being able to claim this status in overseas publicity is manifest.


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Reader Comments (3)

It seems to me that the idea has some merit, if only to stop the insidious predations of the developer community.
There are, no doubt, plenty of opportunities to cover the remaining seaside land with bach developments and fill the bays with fishing ramps and marina's.

August 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Somehow I seem to recall that the Coromandel Blueprint came up with this concept, albeit in a watered down form and was attacked by His Worship the Mayor for locking up the Peninsula. We missed the boat when the predator proof fence, north of Colville, mooted in the '90s was allowed to be axed because of the anti-mob living in that area. In fact they even destroyed the small piece of fence set up as an example. From memory, the Dept. of Conservation would have funded the project and had it happened , Coromandel Peninsula would have had a world beating enviromental conservation park. Now we also need to do is turn the Thames Coast road into a Scenic Coastal Highway with protection in place for the pohutukawa, no development on the seaward side, no road widening -- a drive voted as one of NZ's best!

August 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterToe Rag

Before sounding off on the long-discredited idea of a “pest-proof fence” across the northern Coromandel, "Toe Rag" might wish to avail himself of a few facts. Back when the fence proposal was last put forward in 2007 (not in the ‘90s as stated), the project was advanced by Environment Waikato, DOC and Moehau Environment Group. MEG was a regular recipient of major financial grants annually from both EW and DOC. According to official information obtained at the time, MEG agreed in closed meetings to be “the public face” of the fence plan and would administer its construction and management for an ongoing fee of 20 percent of the multimillion-dollar spend.

However, despite being promoted over several years, the fence plan came under widespread criticism from both the community and professionals for being both unfeasible and cost-prohibitive. In the definitive “Analysis of the Costs of Pest Control Options in the Northern Coromandel”, a report commissioned for MEG but not made public at the time, author Sandra Barns of the University of Waikato concluded that “where eradication is the chosen option, reinvasion will be inevitable.” In other words, the goal of total elimination of animal pests in the area proposed is not achievable.

In its comparison of costs for a fence versus a wide buffer zone, the Barns report went on to find that “the high establishment costs of the fence would never be made up over the lifetime of the fence”. The report concluded, “Where sustained control of pests is the chosen option, a pest-proof fence is not cost effective.” Even if the financially imprudent plan had proceeded, it is completely naive to suggest “DOC would have funded the project”. As has happened at the floundering Maungatautari “ecological island”, the bulk of the multimillion-dollar costs would have fallen squarely on Thames district and regional ratepayers.

Nowhere in New Zealand, and nowhere in the world for that matter, has a pest fence enclosed an area that includes hundreds of full-time and seasonal residents, working farms, businesses, reserves, campgrounds and sections. The idea of completely eliminating animal pests in such an area where hundreds of people enter and leave each day by vehicle, boat and air is ludicrous.

Beside cost and impracticality, in order to even attempt eradication, residents and visitors would have experienced imposition of a wide range of draconian restrictions, rules and obligations fundamentally altering the area’s traditional way of life and land use. By necessity these would have included everything from outlawing pets, to forced removal of stock, to regular and ongoing blanket use of 1080 toxin over the entire fenced area. As a result, the plan to fence off the peninsula at Colville was widely rejected by the bulk of the community that would have been “fenced in” -- including those who manage, own and successfully kaitiaki more than 8,000 hectares of the affected area – an overwhelming majority of the private land that would have been enclosed by the steel barrier. In the end, a well-intentioned but unrealistic, unaffordable, and socially destructive proposal to fence off the upper Coromandel was dropped.

The fact that this very same recycled “pest-proof fence” plan is now the first suggested “signature conservation project” in last week’s proposal to subject the Coromandel to the land classification rules of an overseas lobby group NGO, shows clearly how out of step its promoters are. The multinational tourist promotion company (and our district mayor) pushing the new designation either 1) forgot what the community and experts said about the Coromandel fence plan, or; 2) do not care what the community and experts said about the Coromandel fence plan, or; 3) have a long-term vision of clearing the upper Coromandel of residents.

August 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGeoffrey Robinson

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