Boaties will not be charged to take their powerboats on the Kai Iwi Lakes and there will now be four access lanes.
But should the 5 knot speed limit kick in at 100m or stay at 200m from shore?
Those were issues talked through at several stages during the making of the Kai Iwi Lakes' Navigation Safety Bylaw covering water activities at the freshwater playground, and adopted by the Northland Regional Council (NRC) last week. But whether to reduce the 5 knot speed limit to 100m was not decided and must go back to another round of public consultation.
"The panel accepted council staff recommendations to drop the charges and increase the number of access lanes to four and this was confirmed by full council at its monthly meeting in Whangarei this week," NRC chairman Bill Shepherd said.
"However, debate over appropriate speed limits at the lakes has now triggered another round of public consultation."
That is because a reduction to 100m would require formal approval from the director of Maritime NZ, and a second round of consultation was legally required before an application could be made.
Mr Shepherd said the process would probably happen over summer. In the meantime, boat users should remember the existing 200m rules remain in place.
The NRC bylaw will enable different water-based use of Kai Iwi Lakes - such as swimming, boating, waterskiing, jetskiing, kayaking and board sports - to take place in a safe and sustainable way.
The lakes' bylaw was developed because, previously, navigational safety rules only applied to Northland harbours.
During hearings in Dargaville a month ago, the NRC panel comprising Penny Smart, Paul Dimery and Rick Stolwerk noted a number of submissions to the new bylaw touched on points outside navigational safety and the council's control.
They included fishing, launch ramps and limited access to Lakes Waikare and Kai Iwi for powered vessels.
The Kaipara District Council, with Te Roroa and Te Kuihi partners, are responsible for managing land activities at the reserve.
The new bylaw takes effect on Wednesday.