GLADSTONE GAP ENHANCEMENT – COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

April 25, 2013

Report from Rachel Brown. President HCA, 17 April 2013

Dear Hawea ratepayer

Here is my report on the Hawea Community Association’s consultation with local residents and ratepayers  about Contact Energy’s proposed enhancement of the Gladstone Gap area.

BACKGROUND

Contact Energy owns the land at Gladstone Gap and, as part of its resource consent for using the waters of Lake Hawea for electricity generation, has committed to some landscape development.  Last November Contact Energy asked the Hawea Community Association  to ascertain what the community would like to see happen at Gladstone Gap.

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

Following discussions within the HCA and with the Guardians of Lake Hawea about Contact Energy’s request, two consultation initiatives were undertaken.  Firstly an on-site public meeting at Gladstone Gap on 21 January was attended by 36 residents.

Next the HCA sent out information about the issue to all Hawea ratepayers with a request to return a survey form; this was completed by 162 people.

CONSULTATION FINDINGS

Analysis of the data from both consultations revealed the following four key findings:

  1.  The prevailing attitude to enhancement of the Gladstone Gap area was that it should be minimal and sensitive to the wild and more remote feeling of the area that people presently enjoy. The planting of shade/shelter trees was heavily supported.
  2.  Community feedback obtained from the 162 questionnaires echoed the  messages expressed by the 36 attendees at the January on-site public meeting in their strong support for:

(i) plantings to enhance shade and shelter

(ii) the provision of a toilet

(iii) the provision of perimeter-parking for people who drive to the eastern end of Lakeview Terrace and then access the Gladstone Gap lake frontage by foot or bike.

There was split support (half yes half no) for

(iv) improved track access for people to walk, cycle or be pushed (wheel-chair, baby strollers) into the area.

The HCA reads these results as a mandate to recommend i,ii and iii, and come up with a solution for iv that bridges the gap in opinion.

  1.  At the onsite meeting participants expressed limited support for the provision of picnic facilities (tables, litter bins etc);  the questionnaire feedback recorded strong support for the provision of picnic furniture
  2. Both consultations elicited minority support for vehicle access to the Gladstone Gap foreshore at the present time.

WHAT NEXT?

The HCA executive has fully considered the consultation feedback and made it available to Contact Energy along with the following recommendation.

Recommendation to Contact Energy

The HCA believes deciding now on a short and long term management plan for Gladstone Gap will be advantageous for present and future dealings with this area. This plan should be reviewed every five years.  

The Hawea Community Association therefore recommends to Contact Energy the following actions at Gladstone Gap

Do now:

  1. Draw up a landscape plan for Gladstone Gap to use as the master plan and to make available to the public.
  2. Plant nodes of trees to create zones of shade and shelter – these should be along the edges of Gladstone Gap ranging from near the lake to further inland. A range of native, limited exotic and even perhaps fruit trees is recommended.
  3. Provide irrigation to these trees.
  4. Install a composting toilet at Gladstone Gap, tucked discretely in plantings.
  5.  Provide a small car park accessed through the gate at the east end of Lakeview Terrace for people to leave their cars off the road while using the walking/cycling track. See map.
  6. Link the carpark with the existing walking/cycling track to Gladstone Gap with a discrete track through the scrub that meets the existing track at the top of the final sloping descent into the Gap. Ensure this whole track is wheelchair and baby buggy friendly.  See map.
    1. Clear some of the scrub inhibiting access to the beach.
    2. Arrange availability of key to locked gate on Contact land to allow vehicular access for people with special mobility needs.

 

Do later, if public demand and opinion changes:

Upgrade access track to allow vehicular access to Gladstone Gap

 

I will meet with Contact Energy to discuss the enhancement of Gladstone Gap and ask them to commit to what will be considered the first phase of development.

HCA will work with Contact Energy to expedite the developments and, at the same time, consult with nearby residents and landowners about a perimeter-parking site that does not impact negatively on views of the lake and mountains.

 

STEP-BY-STEP DEVELOPMENT

When developing recreational and community facilities it makes good sense to respond to what we see and know is happening and, with this staged approach to enhancement of the Gladstone Gap, we can do just that.  In the course of the next few years, residents, track users, Contact Energy, Guardians and HCA can quietly monitor any changes and trends in the use of this area and, with that information, shape further enhancement initiatives that  fit with what is happening and what is needed.

 

Thus, while it is utimately up to Contact Energy what happens at Gladstone Gap, the Hawea community has delivered a strong message they want to both preserve this area and keep it accessible. The acceptable level of access is an issue to be reviewed. In about 5 years, when the shade and shelter plantings are established and beginning to enhance the Gladstone Gap area, a further round of community consultation will take place to discuss  any emerging or changing  issues/needs.

 

Finally, I thank those residents who made positive comments about HCA’s consultation.  We endeavour to represent our community.  I also thank Contact Energy for its strong community partnership.

Rachel Brown

President, Hawea Community Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANALYSIS OF CONSULTATION FEEDBACK

 

 

ON-SITE MEETING FEEDBACK

The January onsite consultation meeting invited open discussion.  The 36 attendees strongly endorsed shade & shelter planting enhancements.  Strong argument was voiced for improved track access for walkers, hikers, cyclists, people in wheelchairs and children/infants in strollers; the provision of a toilet, and perimeter parking.  A show of hands elicited limited support for vehicle road access to the Gladstone Gap shoreline (4-6 hands) and revealed substantial numbers (24+ hands) wanting the area kept vehicle free. It was suggested that people with limited mobility could obtain a key from Contact and use the existent basic vehicle track into Gladstone Gap. Limited support for picnic furniture contrasted with the prevailing wish that people enjoy the area in ways consistent with the use of wilderness areas.

 

 

QUESTIONNAIRE FEEDBACK

 

  1. 1.             162 responses to the yes/no questions:

 

 “Do you support…

YES

NO

     basic landscaping?” (plantings)

148   (91%)

14   (9%)

     provision of picnic tables?”

148   (91%)

14   (9%)

     provision of composting toilet?”

128   (85%)

23   (15%)

     construction of a car park?”

135   (85%)

23   (15%)

     a well-graded track?”

83   (52%)

76   (48%)

    future development of a road?”

58   (37%)

100   (63%)

 

 

2.    308 written comments from 84 respondents:

 

Many of the written comments echoed common themes/arguments.  Five key themes are evident.

 

Theme 1:  It’s a precious wilderness area – don’t ruin it.

  • “Leave it wild.  We don’t need to landscape the whole lake front”.
  • “Please leave us with one unspoilt area.  It is important to have a little of the natural area retained”.
  • “No more inappropriate ‘suburbanisation’ of our foreshore”.
  • “Keep it wild”.
  • “Wind shelter – most important”.
  • “It is very important to preserve the remaining farmland/lake interface.  It is such a special part of that end of the lake front – uniquely Lake Hawea”.

 

 Theme 2:   Keep vehicles out

  • “It is special to have areas that cars cannot access”.
  • “Can we try to have a ‘road free place?”
  • “I believe the area should be free of motorised vehicles.  Tramping, walkers and bikers – ok”.
  • “Definitely no cars into this precious much-used wilderness area”.

 

Theme 3:   We want a toilet

  • “Yes – high priority”.
  • “Yes – very necessary”.
  • “This is a must right now for users of the existing track”.
  • “Really need a toilet at Gladstone Gap.  A composting toilet would be great”.

 

Theme 4:   Accessing the area – a well graded track

  • “Make area more accessible”.
  • “Yes – a discrete access track for foot or wheelchair traffic, but not for vehicles”.
  • “An access track, separate from the present cycling/walking track”.
  • “Not now – do it when plantings have become established”.

 

Theme 5:   Perimeter parking is needed

  • “A small car park that is not visible when approaching L. Hawea via Muir Road.  That vista is one of Hawea’s iconic views – across golden grass”.
  • Yes – people need somewhere to park so they can walk into the Gladstone Gap”.
  • “No, as long as there is a track from a car park we do not need a road right into GG’.
  • “Provide access to this area for bike and foot traffic only.  People should be able to park and walk to the Gladstone Gap’.
  • “Yes, an aging population, disability etc encourage a functional yet unobstructive car park”.