10 Tuesday November 8 2016 Your Local Views Selwyn River condition defended SELWYN TIMES Gaylene Barnes responds to today’s Soap Box column by James Guild High Peak Station farmer James Guild writes in response to comments made in a recent SelwynTimes article which described the top of the Selwyn/Waikiriri River as “a mess” and discusses what those living in the area have done to protect the environment I READ an article in the October 25 issue of the SelwynTimes about Kathleen Gallagher and Gaylene Barnes’ proposal to film a hikoi walking the course of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River. I also noted with concern, the quote attributed to Ms Barnes that she had been to the “top of the Selwyn” and it “was a mess.” The property our family farms encompasses the headwaters of the Selwyn River. The south branch traverses the length of the station for about 8km and the north branch forms our northern boundary. The confluence of the two branches is at the lowest point of the property before the river travels through the Selwyn Gorge and emerges at Whitecliffs, some 12km downstream. I am rather bemused by the comments in the article. None of us living here has any recollection of Ms Barnes visiting and picnicking “two or three years ago” and we strongly dispute the claim the “top of the Selwyn is a mess.” On the contrary, we are proud of the efforts we have made to ensure that the water in the Selwyn leaves High Peak Station in the best possible condition. Two kilometres of the south branch riverbed upstream of the confluence is protected under a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenant which also protects in perpetuity a 90ha of native biodiversity including ancient matagouri, red tussock and dry shrub-land. Two other National Trust covenants on High Peak Station protect a 4ha flax wetland and a 50ha shrubland face incorporating natural springs at the base, which form a significant tributary of the upper Selwyn. We have also completed several kilometres of riparian fencing and native planting of different tributaries to the south WATER QUALITY SUPPORTED: The Selwyn River at Whitecliffs – 12km downstream from High Peak Station. branch and will continue to do more as finances permit. Our voluntary efforts towards water protection, weed and pest control and those of our neighbouring stations, who also have tributaries feeding the Selwyn and have National Trust covenants protecting wetlands, have been supported and applauded by Environment Canterbury. Either Ms Barnes has a view as to what constitutes “a mess” which is completely at odds with the facts, or else she is geographically challenged and her picnic was nowhere near the “top of the Selwyn” – as she describes it. Frankly, those of us living and farming in the upper reaches of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri are becoming heartily sick of the ill-informed attacks on our environmental integrity and the lack of recognition of our extensive (and expensive) contributions to maintaining water quality and biodiversity. Lumping all landowners in the Selwyn catchment into a convenient one-size-fits-all category as irresponsible environment vandals, is both hurtful and counter-productive to improving the state of the river. Mr Guild, we are very heartened to hear about the care you are taking for the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River on your family farm at High Peak. It sounds like wonderful work has been undertaken. We are very much interested in documenting examples of good environmental stewardship and may take you up on your offer for the next project. We have also been made aware of other excellent projects along the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River. The Walk for Water initiative during September 2016, and the short documentary thereof were raising awareness about the health of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River along the whole length. The journey began in Whitecliffs/Glentunnel – and my observations of the river reflect the sorry state of it at Whitecliffs and at the much-loved public picnic park at Glentunnel. Please see the video: https://vimeo. com/gaylenebarnes/hikoi-forthe-waikirikiri Perhaps there is something going on during the 12km run after it leaves your place to increase nutrient levels in the river to such a state that didymo and other algae have taken hold? BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME ONLINE Our philosophy is to ensure the building process is an exciting, and inspiring experience. Owners: Peter Hollow & Linda Fowler Online Design & Build Christchurch South 4 Craig Thompson Drive, Flemington, Lincoln 03 390 0131 email@example.com www.onlinedesignandbuild.co.nz Facebook.com/onlinedesignandbuildchristchurchsouth At Online Design & Build our philosophy is to ensure the building process is an exciting and inspiring experience for all our clients. We are a husband and wife team, and as owners and operators of Online Design & Build Christchurch South we provide a complete service so clients only deal with us throughout their building project. We strongly believe communication and transparency is the key to ensuring trust and confidence between all parties involved in the project. Peter started a building apprenticeship 25 years ago, and over that time has gained vast experience while establishing a sound reputation for quality and service. We are backed by the Masterbuild Guarantee and this year we had two entries in the Masterbuild House of the Year awards, gaining Silver awards for both. Our brand-new Show Home is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. Our brand-new website is fully interactive allowing you to customise your plan online. It includes full pricing options, which gives you the control to keep within your investment amount, prioritise where you want to spend your money, and compare options. We have lived in Selwyn and have been involved in the community with our family for many years. We recently participated in the Playhouse competition at the Lincoln Primary School Fair, plus we sponsor local sports teams. We also sponsor the Special Children’s Christmas Party, which will be held at the Horncastle Arena later this month. We feel very fortunate to be part of the fast-growing Selwyn community and believe it is a great place to raise a family. 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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday November 8 2016 11 LONG HAUL: Participants in September’s Walk For Water traversed the length of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River to raise awareness of water quality issues. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that children will be picnicking and swimming there this year at the public grounds. This is a shame considering the work you are doing at your end. One of the requests of locals we met at the top end (Whitecliffs) was for much better monitoring along the whole length of the river, and this is something that would certainly help to eliminate the one-size-fits-all reproach of all landowners – ie those who are responsible towards the river and its edges and those who are encroaching on the river margins. According to a recent Environment Canterbury report – 339ha of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River margins on the plains have been developed for agriculture since 1990. Perhaps this is something needing to be taken up with ECan and the Selwyn Waihora Zone Committee? Footpath parking frustrates reader Robert White, Tai Tapu The vehicle shown in the above photo was parked on the footpath opposite the Tai Tapu Hotel. The car park adjacent to the hotel is empty. If you are taking your children on their bike or in a pushchair to the domain to play on the swings etc, walking your dog, or just generally enjoying a walk to the domain, you will need to walk on the road around this bend into the oncoming traffic. It is not uncommon to see vehicles parked on the footpath when there is clearly plenty of space available in the hotel’s adjacent car park. The footpath has been poorly designed and, without a kerb, it is difficult to see the situation ever being any different.