In July 2019 WCRC announced plans to remove the last four rata trees located beside the Karamea River which could be seen and admired as you drove into Market Cross. As part of their 1.3km upgrade of the stopbank (construction dates back to the 1930’s) WCRC confirmed these magnificent native trees must be removed as their technical advisors considered the tree’s root systems undermined the stopbank.
Locals took to social media in an effort to preserve the ratas, estimated to be300 years old. However our community lost the battle and the trees were felled toward the end of 2019. This prompted residents to find a locally led solution to replace the trees and explore the potential of creating a new rata reserve in partnership with BDC and WCRC. As a result a lead project group was formed out of the community association with the mandate to act on behalf of the wider community.
In 2014/15 Karamea Community Incorporated (KCI) undertook extensive community consultation resulting in the development and adoption of “An Urban Design for Karamea: A Town and Country Plan for Our Community”. The comprehensive plan includes opportunities to create cycle and walking tracks, a landscape strategy and design plan for the Market Cross/community hub area and allows for native planting and other environmental enhancements. Core objectives in this plan were incorporated into the overall community vision and plan.
To remove and replace non-native vegetation/trees
To create a green space for our community and visitors to enjoy – the Rata Reserve is in walking distance from our community hub, Market Cross area
A place to pause, rest, reflect and appreciate native and wetland areas
To restore, protect and enhance indigenous biodiversity
To support existing bird population
Funding support from both BCD and WCRC confirms the significance of the Rata Reserve project to all concerned parties. BDC has approved this project given the site is currently a road reserve. A copy of “Licence to Occupy” is attached and will become effective from the 1st March 2021.
This will be evidenced by a chronology of photos and videos, and monitoring bird life in the reserve before and after the transformation.