Proposed bylaw a threat to water skiers at Kai Iwi

By Imran Ali -
Water skiing could disappear from Kai Iwi Lakes,  after a controversial new bylaw has been proposed.
Water skiing could disappear from Kai Iwi Lakes, after a controversial new bylaw has been proposed.

A water ski club that brings huge spin-offs to Kaipara's economy is meeting this weekend to decide its future after a bylaw proposes to ban powerboats from an area of Kai Iwi Lakes.

The future of Kai Iwi Lakes Water Ski Club, which operates from Lake Waikare, is up in the air after a bylaw originally intended to ban powerboats from Kai Iwi Lakes in Kaipara has instead recommended they be restricted to Lake Taharoa.

The Kaipara District Council received more than 1000 submissions on its Taharoa Domain Reserve Management Plan 2002 with the bylaw titled the Draft Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Bylaw 2015.

The document was released for public consultation alongside the Draft Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Reserve Management Plan 2015.

Members of the Kai Iwi Lakes Water Ski Club, which has been based at Lake Waikare for more than 40 years and holds annual competitions, learn to ski days and a national tournament every five years, will meet on Sunday to decide on its future.

Secretary Tim Robinson said the worst-case scenario would be another venue for the club to operate from but the public would not have access to the infrastructure and facilities they enjoyed at Lake Waikare.

He said Dargaville benefited financially as major tournaments drew people from all over the country.

"We're discussing with [KDC] on what the proposed changes actually mean. We didn't operate last season because a bylaw the council introduced 12 to 13 years ago which allowed powercraft to operate at 5 knots within 200 metres of shore lapsed," he said.

Friends of Kai Iwi Lakes also expressed disappointment at the recommendation to restrict powerboats to Lake Taharoa, saying the reasons for doing so were "unconvincing".

Restricting powerboats on the lake was one of a number of decisions the governance committee has made after going through the public submissions.

The other key decision is to stop the release of trout from 2018 in order to support the restoration of native species.

Committee chairman Peter Winder said submitters overwhelmingly recognised the Kai Iwi Lakes were Kaipara's "jewel in the crown" that needed to be managed and protected to keep them pristine and safe.

"The committee's decisions reflect the need for safety, ensuring the native trees and plants can again be established, lake weeds kept out, and everyone can enjoy the lakes and reserves."

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