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Harbour to be surveyed this Easter

Monday, 18 April 2011 12:00 p.m.

Boating, swimming, fishing, jet-skiing - what do you use Tauranga Harbour for? This is what the Bay of Plenty Regional Council will find out this Easter through its second comprehensive survey of recreation users of Tauranga Harbour.

The off-peak survey follows on from an earlier survey conducted during the peak New Year period of 1 January to 3 January 2011.

Recreation studies students will be stationed at popular spots around the Tauranga Harbour to observe and record recreational use, whether it is in vessels, at the beach, or walking around parts of the harbour.

There will be giveaways for people taking part in the survey and the opportunity to win a draw for one of two petrol vouchers valued at $50 each.

The survey is one of the actions from the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy that was prepared in partnership with Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council in 2008 to manage recreational use of Tauranga Moana.

Tauranga Harbour is valued for recreation and attracts local people and visitors from the rest of the region, other parts of New Zealand and internationally.

Operation, Monitoring and Regulation Committee Chair Malcolm Whitaker said the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy acknowledged that the recreation opportunities available on and around the harbour were a significant attraction for people to live in and visit the western Bay of Plenty.

"The qualities of the leisure and recreation opportunities and the physical environment are two of the top reasons why people move to this area, but currently there are no consistent baseline measures to tell us who is using the harbour, what they're using it for and how often," Councillor Whitaker said.

"The harbour is not only important for recreation; it underpins our way of life in the western Bay of Plenty and supports the social and economic wellbeing of the community," Councillor Whitaker said. 

Councillor Whitaker said the findings of the earlier survey had been very interesting and will prove valuable as a baseline measure for further survey information.

"The data collected exceeded the survey's minimum statistical sample size and provided excellent feedback and interesting information regarding current use patterns and recreation values."

"Overall the public were responsive to the request to be interviewed and very few people declined to be surveyed," said Councillor Whitaker. "The harbour is used for a wide variety of recreational interests, from boating and swimming to kayaking and shellfish gathering."

The survey series will provide an opportunity to learn more about issues raised during the consultation for the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy including pressures at boat ramps, growing numbers of activities including kite surfing and potential conflicts between different harbour users including motorised and non-motorised users.

The recreation studies students will be carrying out the clipboard surveys by request at these popular Tauranga Harbour access points:
• Anzac Bay;
• Tanners Point;
• Ongare-Kauri Point;
• Pahoia Reserve;
• Omokoroa Domain;
• Fergusson Park;
• Sulphur Point; and
• Pilot Bay.

Ends

Tauranga Harbour Survey 2011 lowres