THE BROOK - 2015
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BROOK:
- The MOTOR CAMP
- The VALLEY/WATER CATCHMENT (WATERWORKS RESERVE)
- The Waimarama SANCTUARY (and predator fence)
- 24-tonn helicopter drop of rat poison
- The DUN MOUNTAIN TRAIL
STOP THE DROP - A great march on a great day. Head count of 150 (don't believe the Nelson Mail when they say "about 80")
14k trip along the Sanctuary fence - 1 June 2017
Hearing raises questions about Brook Sanctuary's posion drop - and the fence
BILL MOORE - April 7 2016
Brook Valley residents with property near the wildlife sanctuary got their say in Nelson yesterday, with one proclaiming that she'd "had a gutsful".
Independent commissioner Dr Robert Lieffering was hearing the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust's resource consent application to drop 24 tonnes of poisoned baits inside the pest-proof fence around the 691-hectare nature reserve at the head of the Brook Valley near Nelson city.
Two security guards were posted on the door of the Nelson City Council chamber when the hearing began at 9am but although extra seats had to be brought in to accommodate the more than 40 members of the public who turned up, there was no disruptive behaviour.
Brook Valley Community Group chair Christopher St Johanser was even allowed to sing a specially-composed "waiata" - in English - to support submissions from the Simpson family.
Much of the all-day hearing traversed technical and scientific information and the crowd had halved by the time the afternoon session began.
The commissioner has been promised a written right of reply document from the sanctuary's lawyer, Nigel McFadden, by the end of Friday. He indicated he would likely then seek some additional information before formally closing the hearing.
He would deliver his decision within 15 days from then, he said.
McFadden had called five expert witnesses including sanctuary trust chairman Dr David Butler and DOC resource management planner Dr Lionel Solly.
Butler told the commissioner that he was appearing as a "pest animal control professional". Solly said he was there for the trust, not DOC, and that his use of the department's letterhead in part of his submission was an oversight.
The trust wants to drop baits laced with Brodifacoum, sold in shops as rat poison, to eradicate rats, mice, possums, stoats, goats, pigs and deer so that the sanctuary can become a haven for native birds.
The nearly-finished $4.7 million 14.5 kilometre fence has been badly damaged by a slip and a stag has also recently torn holes in it.
Much of the day's submissions and questioning from the commissioner centred on the integrity of the fence in the face of slip, tree and animal damage.
The possibility of the deadly baits being accidentally spread outside the fence or of poisoned animals getting out was also thoroughly traversed.
Lieffering repeatedly asked witnesses and submitters about the suggested buffer zone inside the fence where helicopter drops won't be permitted, and was told that this should be anywhere from 15 to 200 metres wide to stop accidental spreading of the baits to the outside.
He also quizzed them on how long it should be from when the fence was finished until its effectiveness was proven and poison could be dropped, and again received a range of responses, from six weeks to 12 months or more.
McFadden said there was no practical, efficient or effective alternative to dropping poisoned baits containing Brodifacoum.
"Realistically to achieve the sustainable management and the integrity of the sanctuary, this operation must be undertaken," he said.
"There will be an adverse and perhaps inhumane effect on the target species for a short period of time, but once successfully done there will hopefully be no further need for repeat."
As well as Butler and Solly, McFadden called Dr Des Smith, Dr Grant Harper, and the conservation manager of the 225ha Karori sanctuary Zealandia, Raewyn Empson.
Only affected parties were permitted to make submissions and most came from members of the Simpson family, which has farmed and lived alongside the western boundary of the sanctuary land since 1922.
Dr Tamika Simpson, a sociologist, said she'd had a gutsful of the town being "shut out" of the process.
Those involved in developing the sanctuary, including city council staff, were talking as if the poison drop was already approved, she said.
"That's an abuse of power."
The sanctuary needed a "warrant of fitness" to show it could contain the poison, and there should be monitoring through four seasons to ensure the fence was safe.
"It's a huge decision for the town. What are the reasons for the rush?"
Submitting with her, resident and Treasury economist Richard Sullivan said there had been inadequate notification of the poison drop application, a lack of accountability and transparency, and misinformation.
He said the sanctuary site was unsuitable, as shown by a slip that breached the fence "the first time it rained".
"It's really important for the whole town to have its say."
Richard Simpson, who was born at the family farm in the 1930s and has lived there for nearly 80 years, said poisoning was a "crazy notion".
He said it would pollute an A-grade water supply that had formerly supplied the city with 4 million litres a day and could be quickly harnessed again in an emergency.
"It's a total conflict of interest."
Engineer and consultant Craig Simpson said there were things about the fence and the poisoning that "aren't quite right" and made him nervous about what might go wrong.
"It's a big ask to keep that fence intact," he said.
Nelson SPCA tackles Brook Sanctuary poison drop plan
Nelson SPCA has come out against the plan to drop poison from helicopters into the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, saying it would lead to prolonged suffering of many animals, target and non-target.
The sanctuary trust wants to drop rodent poison brodifacoum once the pest-proof fence is completed, with the aim of wiping out rats, mice, possums, stoats, pigs, goats and deer. It has said that weka and falcons will also be at risk.
In a submission to the Nelson City Council, the SPCA said the poison would bring suffering and death to many animals, both target and non-target
This was unacceptable and at odds with New Zealand's animal welfare strategy, it said. The SPCA was "categorically opposed" to granting the application.
More humane methods of control existed, and had proven effective, the submission said.
Animal welfare inspector Nicola Blasdale said the Brook Valley Community Group asked the SPCA to make a submission.
Blasdale said she wasn't sure why the consent application had not been publicly notified so people had a chance to voice their concerns.
She was concerned about the inhumane nature of brodifacoum poisoning with death estimated to take around three weeks if enough of the poison was consumed.
Blasdale also raised concerns that the indiscriminate nature of the poison meant there was a risk of secondary poisoning through native birds eating other poisoned animals.
"It is not just a concern that it's going to be accidental poisoning, it's a concern any animal would die in this manner, it's not a nice way to go. There are far more humane methods."
She was surprised there hadn't been more discussion on the issue and said there were alternatives to using poison.
"It seems to be being slipped in with as little fuss as possible and I think these things should be talked about at least," she said.
"They have been trapping up there for years, as far as I know they have a big volunteer base. I am surprised they are resorting to this."
Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust general manager Hudson Dodd said brodifacoum was not a controlled substance and was a standard issue rat poison available to the public however consent was required to spread it aerially.
Once the fence was completed Dodd said the site would be completely contained with strictly controlled access which meant there was no chance of accidental poisoning.
In the "highly unlikely" event of poison leaving the sanctuary, he said there was an antidote available in the form of Vitamin K.
"The trust has gone out of our way to make the public aware of these plans, when the time comes if consent is granted we will actively notify everyone in the area and wider community through the media to give them the heads up to minimise the risk," he said.
He acknowledged the possibility that native birds could be unintentionally killed by the poison.
"The trade-off of some native species being killed by the poison is greatly offset by the rebound of the future success of those native breeding species once the pests are removed."
Contrary to what people thought, Dodd said trapping the entire sanctuary was not a viable option.
"You can receive some degree of population control through trapping but it is simply not possible to fully eradicate a whole population of introduced mammals any other way," he said.
Dodd said the whole concept was to restore the ecosystem and bring back the native species which required the full removal of all pests from the site.
"Every day and every night in New Zealand native birds are being preyed on by these pests and many of these birds are barely holding on in the face of that daily onslaught," he said.
Dodd said should the operation gain consent, the trust would take every precaution to ensure a safe pest removal process for everyone.
The consent was deemed limited notification by the council meaning only certain affected parties had to be notified.
Fish and Game, Forest and Bird, the Department of Conservation and sanctuary neighbours David and Donna Butler had written letters in support of the planned operation. David Butler was a key person in setting up the sanctuary.
The affected parties who had not given their support for the planned operation including adjoining landowners and local iwi had been contacted and had until January 21 to make their submissions.
City Council meeting June 11, 2015 - the Draft Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan 2015-2015
Agenda for July 11th meeting
Moira Bauer's Oral Submission (Brook Valley Community Group)
Firstly, I would like to reiterate some of the events that have led us to where we are today, set to receive the draft Brook recreation reserve management plan.
Some of you might remember the last time I addressed the Council on this matter, and discussed the deliberate takeover of the Camps Management, by Council, in 2010.
What is most unfortunate about how this takeover has occurred is that it has left the camp with no real representation. I can illustrate this with the relocation of the NMIT buildings for example. In any other situation, there would be a camp operator, concerned with the financial viability of the camp, who could enter into negotiations, and reach terms that are mutually agreeable.
Such a relationship is clearly anticipated by the Resource Consent granted to the sanctuary, and we can assume that such a relationship would still exist if it weren’t for the peculiar political manoeuvring ( including the active rejection of outside interest in the camp and its management) by Council in previous years.
I reiterate this not because I wish to make a sore point of it, but because it’s a part of what has lead up to this process, and has had consequences, both on the views held regarding the campground, and on the council and its processes. Some of you within Council have expressed anger and disappointment that this has occurred, which is certainly mirrored in the community. We can move past it, but we cant forget that these are the realities which have created the circumstance, in which there is no formal representation for the campground, as opposed to the very official representation of other interests such as NMIT and the gondola.
I am heartened to see that both options presented in this draft provide for the retention of a commercial campground, and a “relocatable home park”, providing for more long term residences within the campground, and will therefore spare you my arguments on affordable housing at this opportunity.
On that note, and bearing in mind the number of interested parties to this reserve, and the question of representation, I have a proposal, which would allow all interested parties equal opportunity for representation, and the opportunity to actively participate in the decision making process around the future use of this public land.
Currently, it is proposed that the draft plan and all submissions on it, be considered by a hearing panel before final approval.Membership of this panel, as far as we have been made aware, is yet to be appointed, and no further considerations have been given as to how this panel might be selected, aside from the recommendation it be chaired by an independent commissioner.
I would like to use this opportunity to suggest that this hearing panel, chaired by an independent commissioner, take the form of a community engagement committee, in which all interested parties are represented. - the sanctuary, the campground, the BVCG, the MTBC, the NCLS, NMIT, the NRA and possibly others. This may sound convoluted and unnecessarily complex, but I would like to argue that it is possibly the most simple and satisfactory option available.
A panel including representatives of affected persons and interested parties allows for the facilitation of greater understanding between groups that express different views or aspirations. People are given the opportunity to engage with the decision making process, collaborate and compromise, and come out understanding the arguments for and against a particular course of action. It also gives Council assurances that all views are fairly considered, and not being commandeered by special interest groups or internal political agendas.
Now, contrary to what some of you may believe, I don’t actually believe that councillors are inherently evil beings, that gather behind closed doors to plot our demise, and require close scrutiny and supervision. But I am saying that this is politics, and political agendas do exist, but that we can protect against them by employing robust systems of oversight.
So far, the hearing panel, tasked with independent oversight and unbiased decision-making, is blank! Which presents both a concern, and an opportunity.
Who better to consider submissions and reach compromise than the interested parties themselves?
We are willing and able and would be delighted by this opportunity for real engagement. Community engagement also translates almost directly into community satisfaction with council, just saying, and I do hope you will seriously consider this proposal. It has been done before and it can be done again, and is entirely within your prescriptive powers, as our Council, to make it possible now..
Thank you all for your time.
Report on Council meeting in Nelson Mail
NEW PHOTOS TAKEN MAY 16, 2015.
Kerry, Ross and Fred hiked up the Dun Mountain Trail to see if there was any more damage due to the recent rains.
Half the trail has washed over the edge and a digger has cut into the hill exposing fresh dirt
A temporary fence and signage has been errected for safety.
Debris and felled trees have gone over the bank and are caught in the trees.
It's hard to show the view looking straight down to the Brook Sanctuary Preditor Fence bench
Looking over the edge and the view from the top
30 April 2015 - More slipage, after the ANZAC weekend rains
Dun Mountain Damage Update - April 29, 2015
The time has passed to put in a submission to either the Nelson or Tasman Council’s Long Term Plan, but it's never too late to write to your favourite councillor. Please keep an eye on all news on this beautiful and historic walking and biking trail. Be informed and have your say.
The land-slide caused by the digging and preparation for the Brook Sanctuary predator-proof fence, and the March rains, finally has a temporary fix. But, the engineers have stated that the earth is still slipping and a permanent solution needs to be found.
Both Councils, and many individuals have donated money to the fence project. Mayors and engineers were warned that this was a fragile piece of land, and cutting into the "toe" of the hill could be disastrous.
Cutting down more trees and carving another track will only further scar the land and damage the flora and fauna in this Reserve, donated to the people by Thomas Cawthorn in 1913.
UPDATE ON THE DUN MOUNTAIN TRAIL - MARCH 25, 2015
For the last week The Nelson Mail has been holding four Letters to the Editor about the slip on the Dun Mountain trail. They say they have been waiting for a right of reply from the Brook Sanctuary Trust.
It is good news that the Waimea/Nelson Weekly newspapers have done their own investigative reporting and been more than happy to look into this unfortunate event and given it front page importance.
The Nelson Residents Association alerted the Nelson City Council, over a year ago, that this area of the trail could be damaged by the construction of the preditor fence, if special engineering measures were not taken.
Here is the article by Simon Bloomberg published in the Waimea and Nelson Weekly on 24 March 2015:
DUN SLIP 'SHOULDN'T' HAPPEN
A slip on the Dun Mountain Trail could have been prevented, say two Nelson residents who were vocal in their opposition to a new “pest proof” fence being installed just below the historic track.
Well-known mountainbiking advocate Bryce Buckland and Nelson Residents Association president Mike Rodwell, say the major slip which wiped out a section of the track should never have happened.
Mike says a geotechnical report, indicating that cutting the fenceline close to the Dun Mountain Trail would increase the risk of slips, was ignored by council.
“Any practical person knows that cutting the toes of hills in Nelson is inviting problems big time,” Mike says.
“The experts on this project have committed a cardinal sin and must now front up to their mistakes.”
Nelson City Council says reopening the Dun Mountain Trail is a priority for it and the Brook Waimarama Trust.
The council’s communications manager, Paul Shattock, says one option would be a “quick fix to open up the trail to cyclists and pedestrians” by removing around 4-6 cubic metres of ground.
A consent has already been granted for this under emergency works.
However, Paul says permanent repairs will take longer because the slip is situated in the conservation zone. Soil disturbance or earthworks are not permitted in this zone except for the maintenance of/an existing track on the existing alignment.
“A resource consent is required for further works to the Dun Mountain Trail because remediation of the slip is outside the parameters of emergency works.
A design will need to be submitted for approval to reinstate the trail and this will include recommendations from a geotech and arborist once that is done then resource consent will be needed.”
Paul says the new fence line can be cleared because it is wide enough to allow digger and truck access.
The bottom of the slip has already been moved by the sanctuary’s contractors and the material is being hauled to selected sites.
Mike, who is a former trustee of the Dun Mountain Trail, says both he and Bryce warned the council about the potential risks of conducting significant earthworks near the trail.
Bryce says the terrain near the slip is so steep that “the probability of slope failure was obvious and the fence should not have been allowed anywhere near the trail.”
Hudson concedes they were aware of the risk of slips but that an engineering report required by Nelson City Council for a resource consent showed that it was an acceptable route for a fence.
“We did due diligence,” Hudson says. “The report didn’t indicate there was any strong evidence to re-route the fence line.”
Paul says engineers are currently investigating whether there is a relationship between the earthworks and the slip.
March 11, 2015 - Land Slip on the Dun Mountain Trail
The Nelson Residents Association predicted this event over a year ago and notified Council, now after this rain damage the feedback has started. Both Councils have invested in the fence, and both may be asked to contribute more money… that means the ratepayers!
Here is a Letter to the Editor from Bryce Buckland:
It’s started. Just as many predicted it would. The first rain has caused a 22 meter section of the historic 3rd House track to collapse, crashing over the scarf made for the Brook pest proof fence.
As its 2.8 kilometers from 4 corners, with difficult machinery access, it will not be simple to make 3rd House track usable again. As well, the Sanctuary fence cannot be erected until the slip and huge trees are all removed.
This area of Brook Fence is cut through unstable terrain with a back slope up to 65 degrees. The probability of slope failure was obvious to most and the fence should not have been allowed anywhere near 3rd House track.
I would like to ask councilor Davies, will Brook Sanctuary meet a portion of theses repair costs? If, as I suspect, the answer is nil, it means Nelson ratepayers will pay the cost of damage. With serious weather events now predicted by NIWA to be a regular occurrence, and the fence undercutting the entire 3rd house track, slip damage will continue and Ratepayers can brace themselves for the bill.
Or, have we just witnessed the beginning of the end of the Historic track to 3rd house?
Further comments by Bryce:
Needless to say I am in the “I told them so” mode and I am really annoyed by this first collapse of the Dunn Trail. I sent my letter to the Nelson mail last night. I hope that others will do the same and write to the Mail.
You are quite right about them ignoring the warnings.
The earthworks for the fence line are finished. The contractors were to have finished yesterday and others can be heard banging in fence posts further down from the 4 corners. The cut into the hill side below the 3rd house track is pretty scary. The top side is around 10 meters or more above the fence track, and it’s far too steep to climb down it. It is also overhung with huge Beech trees and they are ready to fall.
I’ve been told that mesh for the fence is not woven mesh. They went for the cheaper option of a welded mesh fence. I have been told that as this gets a bit of corrosion on it, with a bit of age and significant tension on the wires and it starts to un-weld and just a bang with a branch will see wires detach from the welds and the whole mesh simply flies to bits.
The great taste trail may now become unusable and the chaos is just starting. Wait and see what happens when we get a “significant” rainfall event.
Yes the carnage to the historical third house track has begun.
I have had a look at the damage and its 2.8km up the 3rd house track from the 4 corners intersection. The slip has taken out 22 meters of the third house track and slips over the scarf cut for the fence. Had the fence been in place it would have been wiped out at that spot.
This after the very first spell of rain since the fence line cut was made. I have no idea how the council can repair this piece as it will keep slipping. It also means the fence cannot be put in place at this point until the entire slip is removed. 50meters by 20 meters and between 3 and 10 meters high with big trees in it will create a lot of work for the Council to fix all at ratepayers expense.
I am really concerned that this may be the beginning of the end for the third house track.
Will you and others write to Nelson Mail?
March 10, 2015
YOUR NELSON RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION WARNED THE COUNCIL LAST YEARof this possibility and suggested extra care be taken when the Brook Sanctuary preditor fence reaches this area. Have they listened? You'll be paying for it.
Geotech Report for Brook Sanctuary Fence
The link below will take you to the Geotech Report for the Sanctuary Fence.
20102014115748- Geotech BWS
While the wording of the report is eternally optimistic, it raises concerns with one not versed in Geotechnical Lingo.
- There are various references to the realignment of the fence to avoid very steep (>45degree) slopes, some of which may breach resource consent conditions requiring a minimum 50m distance from the Dun Mountain Track.
- References to large amounts of ‘Endhaul’ for which a suitable disposal site had not yet been determined.
- Recommendations for Stormwater and Sediment Management.
- Talk of Erosion control.
A structure such as this fence will always be a significant undertaking, but it is hard to find language in this report that alleviates the concerns raised by locals within the Resource Consent Application Process that the land is too steep, and that the clearance of significant amounts of forest could lead to slips, erosion and dangerous storm water channels.
Minutes of Comittee meeting to hear Submission on the draft Conservation and Landscape Reserves Management Plan
link to Meeting Minutes from Committee to hear Submissions of the draft Conservation and Landscape Reserves Management Plan 2009.
There is some interesting reading in this. In particular;
- Objections raised at the time regarding the ratepayer funding of the pest proof fence.
- Objections raised regarding the loss of Public Access to Reserve Land.
- Acknowledgement that the Resource Consent for the Fence was already granted when this submission process took place.
This last point is particularly interesting, as it shows that the resource consent was awarded without a reserve management plan in place, and without a completed Geotechnical Assessment.
The Geotech Report was not completed until 2014. Earthworks began within a week of this being submitted and received by Council.
Also check out The Save The Brook Website - www.savethebrook.wordpress.com
Mainland TV January 22, 2015
Hear Moira Bauer speak about the poison drop on behalf of the Brook Community Group.
This is a spoof about the Preditor Fence at the Sanctuary -
but could it happen?
READ THIS EXCELLENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION
TASMAN-NELSON CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS NEWSLETTER - November 2012
OLD NEWSPAPER REPORTS