A putrid smell is getting up the noses of some Rotorua
residents - and it's not sulphur.
Okawa Bay residents say it's the worst it's been in decades,
but the regional council can't do anything about hectares of
hornwort growing in Lake Rotoiti - just yet.
After two big storms in the last month tonnes of hornwort has
been blown into the bay and is breaking down to smell like
The problem is particularly bad at the southern end of the
lake where the weed has been blown by strong winds leaving it
to pile up about 20m into the lake.
Long time Okawa Bay resident Robin Sinclair said the bay was
very good at growing hornwort, estimating an area of 42ha was
covered by it before it was blown onshore.
"It's never been this high before," he said.
Mr Sinclair said he would like the Bay of Plenty Regional
Council to either spray the bay with Endothall (a pesticide
which can be used as an aquatic herbicide) or bring in its
new lake weed harvesting machine to clear the bay.
"Apart from the smell, it's not a good look for a tourist
"They are using the weed harvester on Lake Rotoehu where
there is virtually no population. It would be put to much
better use here.
"They [regional council] use a lot of interesting terminology
when telling you they are not going to do anything about it,"
Bay of Plenty Regional Council lakes operations manager Andy
Bruere said he was well aware of the problem and sympathised
with Okawa Bay residents.
He said a lake weed harvesting machine had been purchased by
the regional council and once operational would be used to
clear Lake Rotoehu first.
Mr Bruere said in the past they had hired a harvester from
Mighty River Power, but that was no longer available.
He said a proposal by a company that was going to buy a
harvester and clear the lakes under contact to the regional
council had fallen over at the last minute so they had bought
their own machine.
"It only arrived last week and needs to be trialled and
licensed to be used on lakes.
"With all due respect, the problem is quite a bit bigger on
Rotoehu, about 80ha of weed needs to be cleared from that
lake to prevent further algal blooms.
"Okawa Bay is small, but it is busy and very important to us
Mr Bruere said water clarity on Lake Rotoiti had improved
greatly which had caused more weed growth.
"But this won't happen every year."
Amora Lake Resort general manager Vivek Singh said the
problem had affected the business, but was more of an issue
for time share clients than those who stayed a short time.