Patrols to target Lake Waihola

Waterway patrol staff will visit Lake Waihola twice a week over summer as part of new measures to ensure people's safety on the popular recreational waterway.

Waihola Looking Forward has been concerned about safety after some boat users had close calls on the lake last summer.

Forward chairman Stu Michelle said the group, during annual plan hearings earlier this year, raised the issue with the Otago Regional Council which took over harbourmaster duties on the lake about a year ago, but had received no response since.

Its big concern was the proposed lifting of all speed restrictions on the lake's Waihola and Waipori channels, he said.

"We're concerned there will be an accident. It'll become a race track around the channels if they don't watch it."

New marker buoys had been placed on the lake and he assumed the council would inform the public about them.

Council regional services manager Jeff Donaldson, who is acting inland harbour master, said as new bylaws governing inland waterway management had not yet gone through the council, the same rules that applied in the past on Lake Waihola, would apply.

The marker buoys were installed a fortnight ago, marking jet ski, swimming and boating areas, he said.

"They make a very clear statement."

Pamphlets outlining the rules and what the buoys marked, would be available from the garage and motorcamp store next week. Waterway patrol staff would also visit the lake twice a week and staff could be contacted if anything happened at other times, he said.

The proposed bylaws would go before the council in the new year and then out for public consultation. After pre-consultation, the proposal to remove the speed restriction on the Waihola and Waipori channels had been removed, he said.



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