02 February 2016

Bay of Plenty’s harbours, lakes and rivers are used by thousands of people every day for a wide range of activities. Regional Council is currently reviewing the rules that help to ensure these activities can co-exist safely, and they want your input.

The Navigation Safety Bylaw covers all navigable waterways in the Bay of Plenty and is aimed at ensuring the safety of users, both commercial and recreational, on these waterways.  While it is mostly orientated around commercial shipping it also affects rules around the wearing of lifejackets, anchoring and special reserve areas.

Bylaws are reviewed every five years explains Shawn Baker, who is a Senior Planner at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and is facilitating this process.

“We want the best Bylaw for the community and are currently seeking feedback around the current rules and some of the major changes that are being considered. With such a variety of users making the most of this region’s waterways this is a good opportunity to ensure these activities do not conflict.

“Some of the changes being considered include the compulsory wearing of life jackets for vessels under 6m, registration of jet skis and the review of speed uplifting’s on some of this regions major rivers. It’s really important we get this right but we do need community input to achieve this.   

“It’s also important to remind people that that Bylaw only covers navigational safety, so to a large extent, it is about people’s behaviour on the water, rather than about physical structures like boat ramps and jetties.  “

Community meetings are being held across the region to explain the review process and as a way to listen to the issues that are important to the community. Meetings will be held in:

  • Whakatāne at the Whakatāne Fishing Club on 3rd February from 5pm
  • Tauranga at the Tauranga Sports Fishing Club (Sulphur Point) on 9th February at 6.30pm (following club night activities)
  • Rotorua at the Rotorua Water Sports Trust Centre (1 Mataiawhea Street) on 10th February from 6pm 

Alternatively people can visit www.boprc.govt.nz/navbylaw to check out the current Bylaw and have their say - or they can call Shawn Baker directly on 0800 884 880. The Regional Council is also keen to meet with any interested group and urge people to make contact directly to arrange this.