Re: Ryton Bay Development at Lake Coleridge

Ian Dampier

[b:3jdam5rg]Dirty Farming Practice – Lake Georgina[/b:3jdam5rg]

Has anyone noticed the dozen or more cattle standing chest deep in Lake Georgina in the last three weeks or so of this summers fishing season (2008/09) ? This small (16 hectares) lake which is one of the Coleridge group of lakes is a much fished lake by many Canterbury anglers of all skill levels and using all fishing methods, but it particularly attracts dry fly enthusiasts. As such a small lake it is highly susceptible to adverse environmental factors such as pollution. Thirty years ago the sight of a herd of cattle standing chest deep in a picturesque lake or river would have been considered postcard material and wouldn’t have been worthy of comment, but our appreciation of environmental issues have changed and generally speaking this practice is no longer considered acceptable, except by some of the stalwarts of the farming community.

I contacted [b:3jdam5rg]Environment Canterbury (Ecan)[/b:3jdam5rg] and registered a complaint in regard to this practice by the landowner. Unfortunately although I received a fair hearing I was very disappointed to learn that the legislation as it stands does not provide for any enforcement action against farmers whose stock fouling waterways, and [b:3jdam5rg]Ecan[/b:3jdam5rg] said they are limited to a process of “education” only (a point that I suspect is not lost on the landowner or property manager). Not satisfied with the response from Ecan I phoned [b:3jdam5rg]Lake Coleridge Station [/b:3jdam5rg]whose land Lake Georgina sits on. Although the response was civil it was icy and uncompromising. It appears that these people see nothing inappropriate with the practice of what has come to be known as “Dirty Dairying” (although these were beef cattle). Never the less I attempted to registered my point of view in regard to the situation without adopting an antagonistic attitude. One of the comments fired at me in response was that “the people camping around Georgina produce more effluent contamination than the cattle.” Nowhere near the truth although a fair comment given some of the worst offenders in regard to littering are the people who use the environment the most (fishermen and campers).

[b:3jdam5rg]Anyone who shares my point of view and witnesses this unacceptable practice of cattle standing chest deep in Lake Georgina and fouling this pristine high country lake are invited to do the same and phone the Lake Coleridge Station to register their disapproval. [/b:3jdam5rg]

In the mean time lets hope Ecan continue their “education” role.