Record numbers attend Ōtaki River Walkover

A record one hundred and fifty attended this year’s walkover and were fortunate with the weather, enjoying a calm and sunny Spring day.

The annual community consultation day to view and inspect the reach of the Ōtaki River corridor from the top of the Rahui Valley to the sea was as usual extremely well planned and executed. An excellent panel of speakers told us how the channel alignment was being managed above Chrystall’s Bend, spoke of the benefits expected from the capital works at Tracey’s and explained how the channel would be managed below the new bridges to be constructed as part of the expressway.

Morning tea at Chrystall’s Bend saw a new fundraising initiative for FOTOR in the shape of an art auction, made possible by the generous donation of an original painting of Chrystall’s Lagoon by Levin artist Grace Goss. We were delighted to see the auction won by FOTOR’s own Peter Pope. This raised $850 while the sale of five books added another $150, totalling a $1,000 to add to our restoration funds. Thanks go to our auctioneer Peter Jensen.

The next stop at Ōtaki Lake was very informative with an address by Shane Hagai of Winstones on the gravel extraction programme in progress and future developments planned for the lake and immediate environment.

Rowan Oliver from NZTA gave us an update on the proposed express highway bridges which are still in the planning stage.

At the final stop of the day at the estuary our secretary Trevor Wylie expanded on plans for a greenfield picnic site alongside the viewing platform.

The day was concluded with a brief address and thanks from Mayor Ross Church before the three busloads of attendees were returned to the depot for an excellent lunch, provided as usual, by GWRC. We extend our thanks to GRWC for another excellent event and also thank Mary for again taking on the role of unofficial photographer and look forward to viewing her photos.

It is generally accepted that flood protection works are in a very good state of repair and that the river is being well managed by GWRC.