December 11, 2018
The Christmas holidays are nearly upon us, and the early, prolific flowering of pohutukawa heralds a long, hot summer. The Island is already busy, with packed restaurants at weekends and a noticeable increase in traffic on our roads.
We are delighted that several initiatives are underway to address some of our transport issues, including a community forum on traffic and a “Pathways” project that aims to make our roads safer for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Another advocacy group has launched Electric Island, which envisions all Waiheke vehicles will run on clean energy by 2030. Our “Fossil-fuel Free Fiesta”, replacing the traditional Santa Parade on 15 December, gets this campaign off to a flying start!
A big bouquet to our Local Board for their efforts on these and many other projects. Their commitment to a sustainable future for Waiheke is clearly reflected in their 30-year strategic vision and plan, which is open for community input.
On the water, Fullers is doing its best to temper the impending impact of huge numbers of visitors, upping the price of visitor fares by $5 per return ticket and giving locals priority boarding throughout the high season.
Meanwhile the Island is buzzing with community initiatives in the areas of sustainability and environmental protection. Carbon Neutral Waiheke , a group committed to addressing climate change, launched their carbon calculator in late November. “Plastic bag-free Waiheke” has been embraced Island-wide, and the Waiheke Resources Trust’s Zero Waste policy was beautifully exemplified by the Plastic-Free Festive Market Day held recently at the Sustainability Centre in Oneroa. The newly launched Beach Ambassador Project aims to encourage sustainable behaviour on our most popular beaches. And the closure of part of Surfdale Beach to protect a family of rare and threatened NZ dotterel is testament to our shared love of the Island and all its inhabitants.
For our part, Project Forever Waiheke has been busy producing water conservation signs and notices for accommodation providers, with “Waiheke Ways” slides for visitors coming soon to the ferries. A traffic monitoring programme is also planned for peak holiday times this summer. If you are interested in being a monitor, please email Convenor Pam Oliver.