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Waikato District Council approves targeted rate for Tamahere gully restoration works

The Waikato District Council has made a decision in support of the Tamahere Mangaone Restoration Trust's endeavours to restore and preserve the natural beauty of the Tamahere Gully Network.  

Yesterday, Councillors voted in favour of introducing a targeted rate of $1 per week, per property, for the pre-2022 Tamahere Ward area over the next five years (2023/24 – 2027/28).  

This rate will provide the necessary funding to accelerate restoration works within the Mangaone, Mangaharakeke and Mangaonui gullies in Tamahere. 

By implementing the targeted rate, the trust will receive the necessary resources to continue their restoration works on Council land, as well as private land with public accessibility. These efforts will focus on gully restoration and maintenance, as well as community education and awareness. 

Council also discussed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Council and the trust would include provisions defining the parameters of the relationship between the parties, as well as reporting requirements to the Tamahere Community Committee and Council. 

Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church says the decision marks a significant milestone in the commitment to preserving the Tamahere Gully Network.  

“The inclusion of this rate in the Annual Plan demonstrates our dedication to funding and expediting restoration works needed to protect our natural environment, as well as the importance of partnering with community groups in meaningful ways to achieve bold aspirations within the district," she says. 

The public consultation process drew a strong response from the community, with 231 submissions received made up of 113 in support, 117 opposed and 1 neutral. This stimulated a lengthy Council debate on the feedback received, the timing and cost of the initiative, and the framework for managing the project. 

Mayor Church says: "We are grateful for the engagement and feedback received from the Tamahere community. Their involvement has played a vital role in shaping this decision.  

“It aligns with several Council strategies including the Trails Strategy and the Taiao (Nature) in the Waikato Strategy, as well as the Tamahere Community Blueprint which has identified gully restoration as a community priority. Council shares the community’s vision of safeguarding the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the Tamahere Gully Network." 

The decision to proceed with the targeted rate received substantial support from the Council, with 10 votes in favour, 1 vote against, and 2 abstentions. This rate will be incorporated into the 2023/24 Annual Plan, which is scheduled for adoption during the Council meeting on 28 June 2023. 

The Tamahere Mangaone Restoration Trust has been at the forefront of restoration efforts in the Tamahere area for the past decade. Through their voluntary work, grants, and donations, they have made significant strides in rehabilitating reserves and gullies. Since 2021, the Waikato District Council has provided annual operational funding of $3,000 under the MoU.