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The Masterton community is being urged to have its say on the future of the town’s two iconic lakes, which were key to it being named New Zealand’s most beautiful city.

Both Henley Lake and the Lake of Remembrance in Masterton’s Queen Elizabeth Park are at risk of running low, and perhaps even dry, in summer months as a result of proposed limitations on diverting water from local rivers.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson says supporting the health of local rivers is a key priority for Council, but it needs to be balanced with ensuring community benefits from existing water bodies are retained.

“Our rivers are an extremely important part of what makes Masterton a place people want to live in and visit, but so too are our lakes,” Patterson says.

“Both of these lakes bring significant economic, cultural, biodiversity and recreational benefits to our community and it would be a shame for those to be lost.

“The lake at Queen Elizabeth Park celebrates its 110th anniversary this year. After World War Two the lake was extended as part of our War Memorial and renamed the Lake of Remembrance, that history can’t be replaced,” Patterson says.

Henley Lake is also well-known for recreational activities and hosted a national Waka Ama tournament in 2016, which drew 300 entries.

“Both lakes were also a key factor in Masterton being named New Zealand’s most beautiful city in 2017 – not just because of the visual amenity but also because of the community collaboration surrounding it,” Patterson says.

“We want to make sure people are aware of the possible future of these lakes and have the opportunity to have their say on how our waterways are managed.”

People are able to share their views with the local Ruamahanga Whaitua – a group of local people tasked with recommending ways to maintain and improve the quality of fresh water. It is working on its Implementation Plan which will contain recommendations for the integrated management of land and water resources within the Ruamahanga Catchment.

More information is available at www.gw.govt.nz/ruamahanga-whaitua/

Key points

  • Proposed Natural Resources Plan includes restrictions on diverting water from rivers below a ‘minimum flow’
  • Impact of proposed restrictions could be severe for Henley Lake and Lake of Remembrance, especially during a dry summer
  • Ruamahunga Whaitua is seeking community feedback on planned implementations. Public meetings are being held:

Tuesday 1 May, 6:30-8:30PM – Kiwi Hall, Featherston

Thursday 3 May, 6:30-8:30PM – Solway College Hall, Masterton

Tuesday 8 May, 6:30-8:30PM – Auditorium, Carterton Events Centre