Saturday, 24 March 2012

Frogs - Gone But Not Forgotten

By Beck Ritchie 

A few years ago, the small steam alongside Doctors Point Road, opposite the Erne Street and Foyle Street intersections, was cleared of willows.

The jungle of greenery and tall trees was dug out and left a barren a clay ditch. When wildflowers and grasses took over they were sprayed, up to and including the stream bed itself, which was home to a families of paradise and mallard ducks at the time. As I remember, the stream was sprayed again later, then planted out with flax.

Prior to its being cleared one could hear frogs when one walked past that stretch of slow water at dusk. Since the willows were cleared there has been no sound of frogs. I have asked others whether frogs are still to be heard there and they too have noticed their absence.

I am deeply concerned that no frogs survived that upheaval. I am equally concerned that their habitat was destroyed in the first place. Now that this is slow water again, clogged no longer with willows but with flax and water weeds, is it not time to reintroduce the frogs? Given that they are a dangerously declining species, is it possible that the Otago Regional Council has been negligent in this matter?

Given that frogs are said to be the canaries of the water (as coal miners used canaries to warn them of gas, since the canary was the first to die) is this indicative of the water quality declining, that frogs have not re-established themselves there, or is it purely the wholesale destruction of their habitat those few years ago?

Does anybody else share this concern, or has anybody seen or heard any sign of frogs in that small stream recently? I am already writing to the ORC concerning this. Are there other destructive public works practices occurring in our locality that we should be letting the ORC and or DOC know about? Write about it.



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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust

On Monday March 19 Nicole Foss spoke at the Waitati Hall. Nicole is an internationally recognised commentator on the world economy, financial systems, peak oil and climate change. She and her colleague Raul Meijer are on a lecture tour of New Zealand and BRCT hosted Nicole and Raul during their time in Dunedin. Nicole also spoke to the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Chamber of Commerce and delivered a lecture at the University of Otago.

We were lucky to have an expert of Nicole's calibre in the Blueskin area. Her lecture wasn't easy going. It was an exceptionally clear, unflinchingly honest and impeccably researched explanation of the way the world is, rather than the way might we wish it to be.

Charles Abraham, Jackie Fanning and Murray Grimwood provided astute local perspectives on the big-picture issues Nicole described. Thanks as well to Hank Rebman, Sue Hensley, Annie Stuart, Helen Beamish, Carl Scott, Nathan Surendran and everyone else who helped with the evening.

If you missed Nicole's lecture, check out her website http://theautomaticearth.org/. You'll find information there you won't get from commercial TV, mainstream media or politicians.

Nicole Foss didn't have much joyful news, but she did have a constructive message: we need to prepare ourselves, our families and our communities for disruptive change. She reminded us that complacency is a trap. We can't prepare for change too early, but we can be too late.  

To cope with the difficulties ahead, we need to develop local food and energy production and means of providing services that local and central government may not be able to deliver in the future. BRCT was set up to advocate for and support that sort of work. Resilience is about being able to cope with change.

We're not helpless. We're lucky we live in a part of the world where we still have options, and we have skilled, hardworking people who are willing to do their bit for our community. Good things are already happening in the Blueskin area but there is more to be done, and soon.

Waitati Open Orchards and Waitati Edible Gardeners are doing great work. They often need a helping hand. At present most of BRCT's resources are allocated to developing the Blueskin Energy Project, but BRCT will still welcome requests for, and offers of assistance.

To find out about BRCT, talk with trustees or contact Scott at the trust office. BRCT trustees are Ross Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, Chris Skellett and Kate Parker. Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust's patron. You can also find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ or by calling 482 2048.

Doom and gloom aside, getting involved in community projects can be an enjoyable experience. Get involved. If the hard times don't arrive, you won't have lost much, and you may have had some fun.

 

Blueskin Energy Project

By Scott Willis

Possums go BANG when they climb into the Waitati substation and electricity gets a little disorientated (temporary short-out). OtagoNet's (forthcoming, as I write) maintenance on the network in late March will present another reminder of the electricity we usually take for granted. Infrastructure is not solid or guaranteed, and indeed, without planning for the future, maintenance and provision of replacement or new infrastructure, we can easily find ourselves lacking basics.

Nicole Foss's presentations demonstrated just how close we are to some very 'interesting times' where uncertainty will be king, adaptability will be needed and the basics strongly desired. Nicole's visit gave further justification to the local energy goal via the wind cluster and in April the latest update will arrive in your mailboxes, with new information posted on the website. There is so much still to do but the path forward has become much clearer and very soon we'll be in a position to run a second set of community meetings on the project.

Meanwhile BRCT continues to support efforts to fund a Community Energy Advice service and I have been working with the Wellington-based Community Energy Network to advance this. However, there are some simple things we can immediately do ourselves to prepare for tough times, even if it's only as 'tough' as a cold winter. Household insulation, while not visible, is almost  the only home investment you could make that returns immediate financial and health value. All of us spend money keeping our houses and families warm, whether it be on wood, electricity or even diesel and coal. All off us know, too, that cold damp houses create high energy costs and poor health. Insulation can cut costs significantly and improve health dramatically, so much so that even within a year you may have covered the 'extra' cost of insulation through cheaper heating bills and improving health. But there's a significant difference between 'knowing' and 'doing'.

What exists now?

  1. The Warm Up New Zealand Scheme, (http://www.eeca.govt.nz/node/3107) offering $1,300 (or 33%) towards the cost of ceiling and under floor insulation if you are on a general income or up to 60% if you have a Community Services Card. Phone 0800 749 782.
  2. The DCC's 'Healthy Homes Grant', which is additional to the WUNZ scheme and prioritises households with Community Services Cards who are high users of the health system. If you are eligible, costs for insulation can be negligible. Contact Lauren McDonald at the Otago Regional Council on 03 470 7433.
  3. Another DCC initiative, called the Eco Housing Retrofit Scheme, is in development to facilitate access to insulation retrofits.

Subsidies won't last forever, so there's no point hanging out in the cold waiting for a better deal. There are now many insulation providers out there and it can be a minefield choosing the best, both in terms of installer and insulation product. They all want to sell product, using the available subsidies. Asking questions like "what is the performance guarantee? (how long will it keep its 'R' value?)", and "what happens to the product if I get a leak in my roof?" can be a good start to choosing a provider. Wall insulation is more costly, unsubsidised, yet not as hard as you might think. And then there's double glazing and the less expensive option: curtains and a possum fur jersey.

For information on BEP contact Scott on 4822048 or by email scott@blueskinpower.co.nz

 

 




Friday, 23 March 2012

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

By Sue Hensley

Recent monitoring of our wild kaka identified 17 of the 20
aviary-released and Orokonui-hatched birds which is a fantastic
result. No unbanded birds were sighted which indicates breeding this
year has been unsuccessful. However, with most Orokonui kaka being two-year olds this is not particularly surprising. Kaka most commonly
breed at four years of age.

Each translocation comes with challenges to the restoration project
and takahe (arriving in April) are no different. A number of poison
bait stations are distributed around the reserve for rodent control.
Their use will continue to decline over time and are already used
infrequently, perhaps once a year at this stage. They are deemed to be
bird-proof but there is a small risk that takahe could force their
strong beak in. Field staff have devised a clever double mesh barrier
that will need to be installed on 200 of the bait stations – a time-consuming task.

Easter is a great time at Orokonui with the delightfully perfumed
Easter orchid flowering and on display down the seasonal Easter orchid
track. There are fantastic holiday programmes over Easter and the
school holidays which have the takahe as its theme. See website for
programme details.

News and events can be found on www.orokonui.org.nz or on our Facebook
page. The visitor centre and cafĂ© are open daily 9.30 – 4.30



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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Thursday, 22 March 2012

WARRINGTON SURF LIFE-SAVING CLUB

by Mark Familton


Of the 184,258 hours lifeguards have patrolled beaches nationally this summer, our wonderful lifeguards at Warrington SLSC have patrolled 896 hours, keeping locals and visitors to Warrington beach safe all summer.  A big thank-you to all of them.


On 23-27 February, Ali Adams and Devon Familton represented the club in the New Zealand Under-14 Surf Life-saving Championships. Together they made seven finals with Ali placing 4th in the U13 beach flags and Devon 5th in the U12 run-swim-run and 2nd in the U12 surf race.  Devon's silver medal is the first time the club has won a national medal since Michael Hastie in 2002 in the same event.  Well done, Devon and Ali; the club is proud of your achievements.


At the National Surf Life-saving Championships on 17-18 March, two associate members of the club achieved success competing for St Clair.  Carina Doyle won gold in the U19 surf teams race, silvers in the U19 surf race and U19 run-swim-run.  Eilis Doyle won silver in the U16 surf teams race.  Carina has also been selected for the 2012-13 NZ Development Squad. Well done, Carina and Eilis.


The club had a very successful regional season. The Warrington Juniors placed 2nd overall on points in every Otago competition this season.  Congratulations to all the Warrington Juniors on your personal achievements and successes on the beach and surf this season.

For the season on points the following club members achieved:

Under 14 boys : 2nd – Tadhg Kelly

Under 14 girls : 2nd - Ali Adams

Under 12 girls : 3rd – Devon Familton

Under 10 boys : 3rd – Eli Familton

Under 10 girls : 2nd – Lola Verkerk

Under 8 boys : 1st – Oscar Lobb

Under 8 girls : 1st – Olive-Coco Verkerk

Interestingly, Ruby Randall placed 4th in both the Under 14 and Under 12 Girls age groups.


On Sunday 18 March the club celebrated the 2011-12 season with the end-of-season prize-giving, and awards were presented as follows:

The Highest Achiever Male – 1st Oscar Lobb, 2nd Tadhg Kelly, 3rd Eli Familton
The Highest Achiever Female – 1st Olive-Coco Verkerk, 2nd Ali Adams, 3rd= Lola Verkerk and Devon Familton
Oldham Swimming Trophy – Charlotte Beconsall-Ryan
Junior Award Trophy – Ali Adams
Most Valuable Contribution to Club Trophy – Devon Familton

Achievement Medals
Under 8 : Phoebe Ozanne                              

Under 10 : Albert Baeumer
Under 12 : Isabelle Beconsall-Ryan               

Under 14 : Tadhg Kelly.


Thank you to everyone for help over the season.  Enjoy the winter break, and we look forward to seeing you on the beach next summer.


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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


BLUESKIN GARDEN CLUB

by Lyn Hastie
Our club had a great Kindred Day on 3 March in the Waitati Hall, where we hosted 100 keen gardeners from far and wide. Our speakers, Val Fay on the Orokonui Ecosanctuary and Daphne Henderson on Seacliff Hospital history, were most interesting and received rousing applause. Visits were made to the Opeke Track, Village Potager, Blueskin Nursery, the ecosanctuary and the grounds at Seacliff. Our raffles and plant stall were well supported and our visitors all seemed to enjoy their outing. Many thanks to Blueskin Nursery and Cafe, Mainland Poultry, Commodore Motels and Car Rentals and the ecosanctuary.

We will be having a plant stall at the Blueskin A&P Clearing Sale on 31 March. Our meeting for April will be held on Thursday 12 April at 7:30pm in the Blueskin Library. Our speaker is Dylan Norfield who works at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. The evening will conclude with supper, a raffle and our usual bloom and vege/produce competition. All are welcome to come along and join us. Any queries to Glenys 482 2640 or Lyn 482 2896.

In conclusion we would like to especially thank Ainsley Heather for presenting the hall so nicely for our Kindred Day.
 
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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


WAIKOUAITI COAST COMMUNITY BOARD

by Gerard Collings, Chairperson

Following a request from the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board, and in response to earlier concerns from Warrington residents about speeding in Bay and Bank Roads, staff of the Dunedin City Council undertook a traffic survey of these roads during late January of this year. The results of the survey were presented to the WCCB at our February meeting as follows:

  • The Bank Road survey, carried out near View Road, showed a traffic volume of about 300 vehicles per day, and a mean speed of 31km/hr, with 85% of vehicles travelling at or below 39km/hr.
  • The Park Road survey, carried out to the east of Station Rd, showed a traffic volume of about 330 vehicles per day, and a mean speed of 49 km/hr, with 85% of vehicles travelling at or below 59km/hr.

The DCC staff advised that the surveyed speeds for both roads are well within what they would expect for a 50km/hr speed limit area, noting that that they would expect vehicles to travel at a higher speed along Park Road, which is wider, straighter and flatter than Bank Road. 

In considering the survey and the issues previously raised about the corner of Bay and Bank Roads the board felt that it may be desirable to define (signpost) the preferred route to the beach, being via Park and Hill Roads. We are keen to hear the community's views on this proposal and ask for comment to the board, via the contacts listed below, by 30 April 2012.

The board will consider feedback on the proposed Harvey Street footpath between Orokonui Road and the entrance to Blueskin Nurseries at our April meeting.  At that time the board is expected to be advised whether or not this work will be able to be undertaken this financial year.

 

The Dunedin City Council's Draft Long Term Plan 2012/13 - 2021/22 (LTP) is now out for public consultation.  The council intend having a display, attended by staff and WCCB members, at the Blueskin A&P Show. Submissions on the LTP close on 17 April 2012; we urge you to participate in the process.


Copies of the LTP and other DCC documents out for consultation are available from the council's office and through its website http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/currently-consulting-on

The WCCB's next meeting is at 5.30pm on 11 April at the Warrington Surf Club. Members of the public are welcome to speak at the board's public forum, however those wishing to do so need to advise Jane Hinkley our Governance Support Officer (phone 474 3374) before 12 noon on the day prior to the meeting.  Remember you can view the board's meeting agendas, reports and minutes at either the Waikouaiti or Blueskin libraries or through the DCC's website at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/council-minutes

Members of the board are only too happy to hear (by phone or email) from members of the community about any issues within our area.


Board Contacts

Home

Work

Mobile

email

The Board

 

 

 

wccb.public@dcc.govt.nz

Gerard Collings (Chairperson),

4657604

4707494

0274848800

gerard.collings@xtra.co.nz

Alasdair Morrison (Deputy),

4822505

4822505

0274354384

info@calmarine.co.nz

Andy Barratt,

021890048

 

021890048

asbarratt@farmside.co.nz

Andrew Noone

4657157

 

0274301727

anoone@dcc.govt.nz

Geraldine Tait,

4822517

 

0212175492

gstait@clear.net.nz

Les Pullar,

4658138

 

0274358020

lesgwen.pullar@xtra.co.nz

Mark Brown,

4822833

 

 

 

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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

ANZAC DAY Remembrance Service

By Helen Beamish

The annual ANZAC Day Remembrance Service will be held on Wednesday 25 April at the Waitati Hall and Cenotaph, commencing at 10am.

Please bring a plate for a shared community morning tea at the end of the service.

In the style of our past couple of years, Glenys Clements will share stories from her family connection to the wider ANZAC story.

Volunteers willingly accepted for helping with any aspect of this community commemoration – set up, clean up, morning tea, traffic management, sound etc.


Contact Helen Beamish 027 693 0762

Sunday, 18 March 2012

New Scheme replaces Rideshare

by Sarah Connolly, DCC Transportation Planning Manager

The Dunedin City Council's Planning and Environment Committee asked staff to investigate alternative ways to reduce parking pressure and increase sustainable travel behaviour, following its decision to discontinue support for the Tertiary Rideshare Scheme.

Now the DCC, the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic are referring people to the Jayride website, a national ridesharing network where people can offer or find a ride.

Chair of the DCC's Planning and Environment Committee, Kate Wilson, says she is pleased with this solution.  "It's a simple, cost-effective outcome for everyone. Referring our residents to one website avoids duplication of these systems and keeps it simple for the user. There are personal benefits in the shared costs of running a vehicle and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, as well as benefitting the city at large, with parking pressure eased and, perhaps, greater community connection."

The Jayride website, at www.jayride.co.nz, is free and easily accessed by all users and businesses and community groups can set up pages.

While there is no priority parking associated with this ridesharing network, as there was under the former rideshare scheme, there is a flow-on reduction in parking pressure all over the city as fewer vehicles are used to transport occupants. There is also the added benefit to the users of sharing the costs of running the vehicle.

 For more information

Cr Kate Wilson                                                      Sarah Connolly

Chair Planning and Environment Committee     Manager Transportation Planning

Phone 0274 438 134                                            Phone 474 3577

 

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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


WOO News

by Hilary Rowley

So it's autumn again already, and it looks like there is an average crop of apples and pears out  there nearing picking time.

How to tell if an apple or pear is ripe? Try taking its weight in your hand and gently lifting it on its stalk; if it comes off it's yours, if it doesn't it's not ready yet. If you cut an apple in half round its equator and its seeds are dark brown to black then it is ripe.
 
The Waitati Open Orchards (WOO) group, have had a genius called Paul build them a steampunk-styled apple press. This wondrous machine will be operating at  the final harvest market between 10-12 on Sunday morning, April 15.  Do bring along your own apple and pear harvest, and maybe some clean bottles so you can take home some delicious juice to drink or to make cider. This is a WOO fundraiser to help us care for our existing street-side orchards, and maybe plant some walnuts.  Lucky us.
 
You can preserve apple juice (or any juice) by processing using the water bath method:
  • Place juice in sterilised glass bottles leaving a 2-3cm head space.  The bottles to use are the ones with metal lids which have rubber seals inside them (as used for blackcurrant or lemon and barley water syrups from the supermarket).
  • Boil the lids for a few minutes to soften the seals and screw them lightly onto the bottles. Place the bottles on a trivet in a big, deep pot. You can sit them on folded dish clothes and pack them round with tea towels to stop them falling over or banging against each other too much.
  • Fill the pot with water so the bottles are sitting as deeply up the necks as you can without overflowing the pot.  Bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove bottles and tighten the lids. You will hear the seals pop down as they cool. If properly sealed they will keep for up to a year in a cool dark place, but refrigerate after opening.
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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Working bee at Orokonui Scenic Reserve

by Lucy Hardy, DoC ranger

As discussed at the February working bee, we plan to hold working bees at the Orokonui Scenic Reserve Living Legends site on the last Sunday morning of every month.  This means that the next one is Sunday 29 April.  Meet at the usual spot and time – 9.30ish at the Orokonui Scenic Reserve at the end of Killarney Street, Waitati.


The plan is to focus on an area where the plants haven't done so well.  Tasks to do include: 

  • removing the weed sacks/mats from around the dead plants and marking the spot with a single stake;
  • weeding around plants that have done OK, renewing weed matting where necessary so that these plants can be easily identified.
This area will then be prepared in May by spot spraying so that infill planting can be done in the spring.

 

I will be on leave until the end of April, so won't be able to join you this time.  Valerie will be there, and knows the section of planting to focus on.  If you have any questions you can contact Valerie by email at mikeandvalfay@clear.net.nz   Thank you.

 

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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".