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Changes to reserved areas

The proposed Navigation Safety Bylaw includes a number of changes to reserved areas, including changes to the size or location of one area, and the introduction of several new areas.

Hunters Creek and Panepane Ski Areas 

Hunters Creek is a sheltered part of the Tauranga Harbour located between Matakana Island and Rangiwāea Island.  The sheltered nature of Hunter’s Creek makes the area one of the most sought after locations in the harbour for boaties, passive recreational activities (e.g. swimming, kayaking, and beach picnics) and active water sports.

A significant part of the Hunters Creek is currently reserved as a water ski area.  The water ski area extends to the shoreline of both Matakana Island to the
north-east and Rangiwāea Island to the south-west.  The ski area incorporates the main channel that meanders between the islands.  This navigation channel is the primary connection from the mainland (Sulphur Point) to Opureora on Matakana Island.

Issues with the Hunters Creek ski area include:

  • At low tide there is a lack of space and heightened risk from shallow water.
  • Increased volumes of recreational users.
  • Jet skis and other vessels operating at over 5 knots whilst not towing. This breaches the existing Bylaw (Clause 3.2.1 may not exceed 5 knots within
    50 m of another vessel or person or within 200 m of the shore) and creates a heightened risk.

Throughout the early engagement phase of consultation, a range of views were raised by the community, including:

  • The retention of the ski-area with no change.
  • The removal of the ski area.
  • Shifting the ski area to an area off Panepane near the southern end of Matakana Island (refer Figure 1).

A new ski area at Panepane Point could be utilised at high tide and low tide safely. This would alleviate increased water traffic and subsequent high risk activity at Hunters Creek. This area would extend from the beach to 200 m offshore (outside which any vessel may exceed 5 knots) and has tidal flows less than 2 knots.

Council has opted to propose inclusion of both the existing Hunters Creek and new Panepane Point ski areas in the proposed Navigation Safety Bylaw. Submissions are invited for and against either area.

 Panepane Point Ski Area

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Lake Aniwaniwa Swimming Area

Lake Aniwaniwa, (previously known as Lake Aniwhenua), is a popular recreational area for boaties and swimmers. To ensure this space is shared safely it is proposed that a section of Lake Aniwaniwa near the campground and north of the boat ramp is buoyed off and reserved for swimming only. The proposed swimming area is not located on the natural approach to the boat ramp as most boating activity takes place to the south of this ramp.

Lake Aniwaniwa Swimming Area (new 2016) 

Please click on maps to enlarge. 

Whakatane Swimming Area

The Whakatāne District Council are currently investigating and moving towards a dedicated swimming park area within the Whakatāne Harbour. This area is located to the seaward side of the wharves. It is intended that the swimming area will be located outside of the main navigational channel. The area would incorporate a land based park, as well as structures that reach out into the water, suitable for swimming, diving and jumping.

It is proposed to include a reserved area for swimming in the Bylaw to support this initiative.  In tandem with this, there are some proposed changes to discourage swimming and jumping from commercial wharves when vessels are maneuvering. 

Whakatane Swimming Area (new 2016) 

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Waipu Bay

Waipu Bay is located within the Tauranga Harbour, to the south of the Tauranga Airport, and to the south east of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge. Matapihi lies to the south of the bay. The bay itself is shallow and is largely exposed at low tide, with few permanent channels. The bay provides a significant area of inter-tidal habitat that is frequented by wading birds.

Due to its shallow nature, the Bay is not frequented by motorised vessels, although Personal Water Craft have been the subject of complaints in the vicinity of the Te Rūnanga o Ngaiterangi Marae.

By reserving the area as non-watersports, it will discourage high impact uses such as PWC’s, but will still enable access for fishing and other low impact and passive activities. As a reserved space, education and enforcement will be easier.

In reserving the area, access to and use of the existing boat ramp will not be impacted.

Waipu Bay Non-watersports Area (new 2016) 

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Matutu Arm Restricted Speed Area

The 5 knot speed restriction currently in the Matutu Arm was introduced into the 2010 Navigation Safety Bylaw.  Since then the community has consistently raised concerns about the speed restriction with the Regional Council.

To reflect community feedback, it is proposed to reduce the speed restriction area to the north-eastern part of the Matutu Arm.  The majority of the Matutu Arm will retain the normal 5 knot rules that apply throughout the Lake.

2010  2016
Matutu Arm Restricted Speed Area (2010) Speed Restriction Matutu Basin, Lake Rotoma (new 2016)

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Lake Okareka Slalom Course

The Rotorua Wake and Ski Club are proposing to establish a ski slalom course on Lake Ōkāreka. The proposed location is on the south side of the lake, 200m from shore. The proposed course is approximately 370m long and 23m wide and would consist of 26 air filled rubber buoys 150mm in diameter.

The proposed location of the Slalom Course is in excess of 200m from shore. As such, the area currently has no speed restriction and there is no priority of use for skiers.

In order to enable the use of the structure (if it is granted consent under the Resource Management Act) for its intended purpose, it is necessary to make the slalom course and its immediate area a reserved ski area.

Under the current Bylaw, skiers are able to utilise this area, along with the main body of the lake, but they have no particular priority.

2010  2016 
Lake Ōkāreka (2010) Lake Okareka ski area (new 2016) 

Please click on maps to enlarge