May update: Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager
Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager Kevin Heays shares his lockdown thoughts.
Our environment has had a big break from human influences over the last six-to-eight weeks. The seagulls are finally back at sea, not our tables; our world-famous sea and ocean life have been in the bays chilling out; and forest and alpine life has been spotted close to the coast.
Our wetlands remain wet despite little rain, with streams and rivers running pretty clear. Dairy cows are going on holiday and sheep are, well, being sheep! Winter vege gardens are being planted, and all in all people are becoming more connected with the flora and fauna in their own space, which has been great to hear.
Level 4 and 3 has seen our team meet online daily to compare notes, encourage each other and for 'funny hat Friday'. We have been chatting about the needs of the community and how we can help fulfill those needs while working from home. We have also been in daily communication with other departments of Environment Canterbury.
My lockdown thoughts
I don't see this lockdown as a hindrance, red-light or merely a chance - I've turned this into an opportunity. An opportunity to:
- reflect on my priorities in life; how I work and who I play with
- revisit some LPs that I have had stored in closets that I rarely open
- try out a different way of organizing my day around work, family and my shed
- scroll social media and see what a hilarious group of plonkers we can be, and lastly
- to reflect on how bloody lucky we are, to be living here – in Kaikōura and in New Zealand.
Business as usual in an unusual time
Before lockdown, we re-invigorated our local Love the Lyell governance group. Plans are in motion to get this group of passionate community members and youth together as soon as restrictions allow, to form a long-term vision - looking at how we can support the community to drive an increase of health, for our healthy waterways and improve the not-so-healthy ones.
Our district's Water Zone Committee are in the same boat as the governance group and met online last week. Aside from Chair Ted's interesting choice of research reading appearing on screen mid-meeting, it was great to have the group together again and re-focus on improving and protecting our waterways.
Our zone team have been on a journey of self-discovery during the down times. They have been delving into a variety of environmental work research/reading/trials that they normally would not have time to do.
From upskilling in IT processes to learning about regenerative farming and application research, to on-land and in-garden mahinga kai opportunities, we hope that these skills and this knowledge will increase our knowledge and ability to do our jobs better, both for and with you.
We're getting into the cooler season, which means firewood is becoming a trending topic. Please remember that you MUST have landowner/manager permission to cut firewood. This includes Environment Canterbury managed land. Taking of firewood or wood in general from Environment Canterbury land without permission could result in a Police prosecution.
There are also rules about taking mānuka/kānuka from anywhere in our district.
Please report any felling or collecting of firewood to our local office. Call 03 319 5781 and if possible, record the date, time, location and any images if you can.
Outdoor burning rules and regs
When it comes to outdoor burning, we are focused on WHAT is being burnt – the material or matter that is being burnt has different environmental impacts through the smoke it produces, as well as chemicals that might be evaporating from the heat.
Remember that it is illegal to burn or bury silage wrap. It is also illegal to do any outdoor burning (drums, garden waste, tax returns etc.) on land of less than two hectares, and over two hectares you can burn certain things if you meet certain conditions.
Lastly, remember that Environment Canterbury's rules and regs are still in play and we need your help to make sure we keep clean and green. If you see something dodgy, take down as many notes as you can about what you see, then call us on 0800 324 636.
As a wise Kaikōura District Councilor said to me – let's not look at going BACK to normal – let us go FORWARD to normal.