The Dunedin City Council will be clearing approximately 5000 square metres of native bush on the eastern and western portions of the current earth dam. The Society have raised a number of concerns over this project in relation to the environmental and recreational compensation that Council should provide in lieu of the clearance work. It’s clear that the City Council have an infrastructural need to upgrade the dam for safety and to bring the Ross Creek site up to standard for future water production. There is however a need to ensure that the area is respected as part of Dunedin’s premier recreational and conservation network and that the public see a high degree of diligence, planning and environmental sensitivity fitting to an area of such importance. The Society have specifically raised issues around;
- The protection and retention of the bush areas around the western ridge of the dam.
- The positioning of the proposed haul road to deliver earth fill for the proposed strengthening.
- The transplantation of plant material for restoration in other suitable areas.
- The re-use of fallen log and litter material for restoration and the creation of invertebrate habitat sites within the region.
- A trade-off arrangement for restoration planting in areas of Ross creek to compensate the community and biodiversity for the loss of the native bush.
- The site should be photographed and recorded before, during and after the operation so that structural and vegetation change in the Ross Creek area is recorded for the historical record.
- The removal of the significant wilding pines from the eastern side of the reservoir.
- The reinstatement of all recreational tracks to continue traditional access.
- Replanting of the dam face in shallow rooted species that are appropriate in the wider conservation and landscape context to create biological and landscape connectivity.
The Society have been in communication with staff of the Dunedin City Council and will continue to do so as this project is progressed. A further meeting will be held this week as an opportunity to push the Society’s concerns and thoughts to promote the best environmental and recreational outcome for the community.