Rabbit Island consultation popular

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Public feedback on the future of Moturoa/Rabbit Island held a clear message – “we love it, just the way it is”.

Tasman District Council policy adviser Anna Gerraty says council received a total of 560 surveys and 82 comments on its call for feedback on the future of Rabbit, Rough and Bird islands by the February 29 deadline. Anna also met with a wide range of groups and users of the islands over summer.

“The overwhelming theme that came through was that people love the naturalness, open spaces, variety of recreational opportunities and lack of commercial activity on the islands.”

Anna says the feedback ranged from broad ideas about where and how different activities could be successfully managed on the islands, to specific suggestions for where maintenance, repairs or new facilities were needed.

“Some of the suggestions will be fed through to the staff who carry out maintenance and repair work on the islands to incorporate into their upcoming work schedule. The feedback that relates to the ongoing management of the islands will now be considered as we begin drafting a new management plan to guide the future of the area.

“We’re aiming to have a draft plan available for people to look at by the end of April. We’ll be asking the community to let us know what they think of the draft plan, and there will be public hearings as well before a final version is confirmed.”

Council put out the call for feedback in November, and comments and surveys flooded in through online, via social media and in hard copy form.

“It seems to have struck a chord. It’s obvious the islands are much-loved and well used, so we will now consider all the feedback and prepare a draft plan for consultation.”