We asked for community feedback. This is what we heard...
1. The Spit and wider area is valued by locals for the landscape, wildlife, solitude, remoteness, history, affordable lifestyle, family connections and as a food basket, and a place to farm.
2. Residents want to see the area remain quiet with nature enhanced, less pests and weeds, more ecotourism, better roads and cycleways, more community with fewer absentee bach owners, and history remembered. But also with more freedom and less restrictions to live and farm as one chooses.
3. Most (89%) of local people surveyed are supportive of the Pest Free Onetahua project but also recognise it is an ambitious task that must be carefully planned and perhaps should be staged.
4. Most agree that rats, stoats, possums and pigs are the worst predators but a few want pigs to remain to support their hunting activities.
5. The main concerns include:
a. whether the funding will be adequate and sustainable to do the job thoroughly and maintain the gains; whether enhanced conservation values will lead to increased restrictions on freedom of access and activity; b. community division, c. the use of 1080 especially near waterways, d. environmental effects on the landscape and native species; and e. interference to their privacy, lifestyle and farming operations.
6. Nearly everyone was happy to have trapping on their land and wanted good communication about progress. Some are excited about increased employment in the area.