The annual Vintage Railway Fun Trivia and Auction night held at the Waitangi Copthorne Hotel on Saturday 19 August proved to be another huge success. Organised by Blah Blah Marketing and the Vintage Railway, over 200 people from Kaitaia to Auckland were present and the venue was packed. And they were obviously there to enjoy the evening and to support the Vintage Railway in the process. Both aims were well achieved.
After being welcomed by Trust Secretary Sue Hamnett in the place of the ill Chairman Johnson Davis, Funding Manager and long-time Trust member Frank Leadley took the crowd through a powerpoint presentation which outlined the huge scale of the project. Although the evening was focussed on funding towards the new station at Opua, Frank emphasised that there are actually 4 components to the project – at the Kawakawa Station there will be a number of building changes and rolling stock restorations, there will be the huge new railway and cycleway complex at Opua, there will be the full restoration of the historic railway line to link the two stations, and there will be a new and permanent cycleway within the railway corridor to replace the present leased use of the railway line.
Excluding the new cycleway which will be funded by FNDC, the cost of the first 3 components will be around $5.2 million. This is a huge amount of money for a Charitable Trust to raise, but with a combination of grants, philanthropic donations, potential overseas investment, Railway fundraising activities, infrastructure assistance from FNDC and loans, together with on-going community support, the Trust is hopeful its aims will be achieved and believes the whole region will benefit greatly from the economic and social outcomes that will flow from the project. These include 25 new jobs and the establishment of a Charitable Trust that will provide grants towards skills development and education – the only Trust of its type in the area.
The evening was divided into 4 blocks, each with 3 components – a trivial pursuits section, a fun activity, and a set of auctions. The trivia sections were keenly contested, while Frank Leadley and Mayor John Carter had the crowd fully entertained with their crazy style of auctioneering, and the bids came thick and fast. A wide range of great auction items had been provided by supporters, including the Bay Of Islands Painting Group and the Northland Corrections Facility. A wide range of auction items from 52 donors and businesses included accommodation, meals, boat trips, para sailing, mountain bike rentals, scenic flights, and art work including a magnificent painting by Opua artist Di West of a cow at almost full size which was purchased by Wallie Titchener from Auckland for $1,400.
It was a great night which produced a gross total of $15,200. But the major outcome of the event was the hugely entertained crowd who now understand the scale of the Railway’s project and who are even more enthusiastic supporters.
The Bay Of Islands Vintage Railway is absolutely delighted that, after a long and costly process, the resource consent for a new railway station and cycleway complex to be constructed in the area known locally as the Colenso Triangle has been granted.
The process commenced in October 2016 and submissions closed on November 17, 2016. There were 121 submissions received by Northland Regional Council and 113 by Far North District Council, which was overwhelmingly in support of the railway proposal. However, there were a few submissions which expressed concerns over effects of the development on a small area of swamp and any bird life that utilised that area, the natural character, and cultural and historic effects.
Accordingly, a Hearing was conducted over the 2 days of 3 and 4 April by Dr Rob Lieffering from Nelson, who was very fair and impartial and conducted the Hearing in a highly professional manner. All submitters who wished to be heard were granted an objective and dispassionate opportunity to do so. One complication was that there was shared access off SH 11 with the local oyster farmers vintage Railway Resource Consent granted.
Who were seeking a reclamation adjoining the Railway site to land their products and the two applications had therefore been submitted together. There were many more objections to the oyster farmers’ application than there was to the Railway application, and this was a factor, in combination with the natural character and wetland issues, that resulted in the Railway’s application being declined.
This led to an appeal which was heard on 17 July, for which the two applications were “unbundled” and the Railway shifted the station sitting with its associated infrastructure and parking. The Railway also undertook to carry out an intensive predator control programme.
Dr Lieffering’s Decision Report was received on 25 August, and the Railway application was approved in full. His Report states that he is satisfied that the Railway has undertaken an adequate assessment of any potential adverse effects and, in fact, that “allowing the railway terminus to be constructed and operated promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.”
There are conditions relating to storm water, sediment control, weed control, archaeology, etc. with which the Railway is very happy to comply. “But the huge plus for the whole region”, stated Vintage Railway spokesman and Project Chairman Frank Leadley “is that we can now proceed with confidence with gaining funding for the restoration of the North Island’s historic first railway line and in developing a tourist complex which will be huge for the region in terms of employment and in its intrinsic interest. The total project involves building and rolling stock developments at Kawakawa and the construction of a permanent cycleway by FNDC within the railway corridor, as well as the large multi-purpose station building at Opua. We have a massive job ahead of us as we are looking at raising around $5.2million for the project, but we have great community support and are confident we will reach our targets,” he declared. The Business Case was peer reviewed by Craig Wilson Quality Tourism in Nelson who declared it to be “one of the most exciting projects I have encountered” and which will be “the equal or better of any similar projects in the country.”
The Resource Consent process will have cost the Railway Trust over $50,000. “This is really tough for a Charitable Trust,” Frank Leadley stated, “but it serves to steel our resolve to get the job started as soon as possible so that the whole community can benefit from, and be proud, of what has been achieved,” he concluded.
You may have heard already … Council have made a significant announcement:
The Dog Control Bylaw and Policy proposal is being sent BACK to the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board for consideration. The Community Boards are able to make recommendations whether there should be amendments to the document and/or amendments to the process. How does this affect us?
1. All of the letters you have sent to Councillors are redundant for now!!!! The Councillors will not be having a say on this until the Strategy Committee meeting on 30th August i.e. AFTER the Community Boards have had their say. So you have to send, or resend your views to the Community Board members urgently. You can approach all of them, or a particular one you may already know. Could you please cc Kelly Stratford as she has become the hub of communication between us and the council and is loyally compiling everything we send her and ensuring it is passed on to other members.
2. The Community Board meeting is at 10am Monday 14th August at Waipapa Hall. Yes, this Monday – so get writing SOON! The meeting is open for the public to attend AND you may speak at the meeting if you wish to. If you are considering this but are not sure how to go about it, you are welcome to phone or email Kelly Stratford or myself for more info.
3. Predictably, the policy writers have CHANGED the draft bylaw & policy – the one being presented to the Community Board has differences to the one we have been critiquing. I encourage you to go through it all again! You may feel strongly about most of it, or just one aspect. Some differences I have noted so far (still a lot of studying to be done!):
– The limit of two dogs per household has been broadened to make a lot of areas only one dog per household, including Russell and other rural areas. Still no provision for applying to exceed that.
– Sullivans Beach (coast between Te Haumi and Paihia) nominated to be an Exercise Zone ie off leash at all times. Something to smile about and I know this is only because of the effort people went to last summer to make a case for this. Still, it is better-sweet with the other opportunities they have simultaneously deprived us of.
– The track between Te Haumi and Opua has been added as ON LEASH AT ALL TIMES. (It is presently off leash.)
I apologise for not being familiar with everyone’s patch of turf, or circumstances, so PLEASE SPEAK UP for yourselves AND people you know who may need support (e.g. elderly or shy folk).
We are all angry and upset, and it is OK to express that, however it will be most helpful if you can tell them precisely how the bylaw and policy negatively impacts on you and suggest solutions on how they can reverse that. You may also like to mention that you didn’t receive notification of the review last year (if you didn’t) and/or that the draft has been significantly and secretly changed since it was first presented for public feedback.
Link to the new draft/proposal:
(It’s in three parts – a discussion report, the bylaw and policy, a document showing the changes made to the last version.)
Link to the Community Board Members Contacts:
Kelly Stratford: Phone: 021 087 31120 firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to the announcement (media release):
Thanks to all who came to Opua Beach on Sunday. Sixty odd people and dogs – that’s 120 + individuals!!
Keep up the effort, everyone. It will pay off eventually. And please pass this email on.
Proposed Dog Bylaw
a new bylaw is just about to be ratified by our council. It seems to be a new radical approach to dog ownership. As you can imagine there is a big division between dog-owners, non-dog-owners, conservationists and I am sure Opua residents. This is why:
Schedule C – DOG EXERCISE AREAS Dogs may be exercised off-leash in the areas listed below and shown in Figure 2.
Kaitaia Empire Street. See map. Kaikohe Highway 12. See map.
Kerikeri Rolands Wood, Kerikeri Inlet Rd. Wiroa Road. See Map.
Opua Beechy Streetwaterfront. See Map.
Rangiputa Rangiputa beach.
• • Dogs must be under control at all times.
Opua Beach is the only place for off-leash time in the Russell, Opua, Kawakawa, Paihia, Waitangi & Haruru Falls area. Mind-boggling? Where are all these dog owners going to park? Where are the dogs going to exercise at high tide? Who’s going to clean up all the dog waste?
Please come along to this event – we need to make sure our beach is not the only off-leash exercise place in the BOI
Team New Zealand are back on the water. And the Opua community is back with its working bee.
The weather looks to be fine this Saturday 10 June – perhaps just a few showers, but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the fantastic Opua community!
So the Working Bee at the Top O’ The Hill is back on. 9.00 – 11.00 am. Bring tools etc as per the earlier notice. Let’s give those weeds one hell of a hiding!!
But if anyone can help Vanessa with Morning Tea she would be very appreciative – ph. 4027650.
And GO Team New Zealand!!