Neglect of beach reserve “a disgrace”
A local resident who walks every day through Taumanu Reserve, says its neglect is a “disgrace”. In November, Patrick Dyer contacted the Onehunga Community News to highlight the lack of maintenance and the general look of neglect. His main concern is about the proliferation of weeds throughout the area, the bottles and rubbish strewn around, and the lack of security cameras monitoring the vandalism often taking place in the evenings.
The weeds are at their worst at the northern end of the reserve, where mature, flowering privet trees run rampant at the bottom of the cliffs. Tangled up with the privet is the moth plant vine; both are identified as National Pest Plant Accord species on Auckland Council’s website, because they displace and smother native vegetation and cause allergies. Even more concerning, however, is the extent to which the privet has self-seeded among the native plantings throughout Taumanu. Other weeds also proliferate, with bamboo, ginger, and thistles over 1.5 metres tall a common sight. “My main concern is the neglect. If they had maintained this year by year, they would have tackled this,”says Patrick.
His other concern is unleashed dogs, and dog faeces left on the paths and grass. Dogs are allowed on the reserve but they need to be on a leash – unlike Onehunga Bay Reserve where they can run around unleashed. More signs are needed to clarify the dog rules.
Antisocial behaviour and vandalism are also problems, with cars able to get into the car park at night, despite the bollards. The Onehunga Community Patrol visits the reserve during the day and at night. Peter Grainger, OCP co-coordinator, says that it “would be ideal” to have security cameras, both on the access road (under the footbridge) and at the boat ramp and toilet block area. “What we know from experience is that cameras provide a deterrent and they are worth every cent,” he says. He adds that extra bollards are needed at the car park entrance.
Patrick says it’s sad that the reserve has been neglected. “Where’s the pride in maintaining this outstanding example of native coastal plants thriving on a reclamation?”
Onehunga Community News contacted Auckland Council for comment, but at the time of goig to print, we had not yet received a formal response from Council. After having contacted the Council about our concerns, we visited Taumanu a few days later, and noted that a contractor’s truck was at the site with weed spraying equipment. We will follow up progress, if any, in our March magazine.