Due Process?

Quite aside from the moral paradox of saturating a wildlife “Sanctuary” in deadly poison, I continue to be baffled by the complete and utter exclusion of the public in this process.

Quite aside from the limited notification, the land in question is council owned. Continue reading

Hearing April 6 9am

The Hearing date has been set for Wednesday 6 April, 9am

As residents of the Brook Valley, the Campground, Nelson or New Zealand you have no right to be heard on this matter. Luckily for us all, we have the opportunity to have our voices heard through the submissions of those who have been given the right to be heard (neighbouring landowners)
This is the message we are circulating, on behalf of neighbouring landowner Richard Sullivan, please contact him if you can contribute in some way, and if you are available at 9am on a weekday and can show up and offer support at the hearing, we’d love to see you there also!

Continue reading

Public Opinion

While public consultation has been denied, we think it’s important for people to voice their views. Here are a collection of submissions received via our community engagement and public networking. Not one person has submitted in favour. The BWST must realise the alienation they are opening themselves up for, as a community project it’s hard to comprehend how little they seem to care about this.   Continue reading

Concerned Nelson residents to fight proposed poison drop- Nelson Mail

Last updated 13:06, March 7 2016

Residents in Nelson’s Brook Valley have vowed to take legal action if the application to drop poison in the Brook Sanctuary gains consent.

The Brook Valley Community Group has become an incorporated society so they can apply to the environmental legal assistance fund for help with the costs of preparing a case to to the Environment Court. Continue reading

Stop the Drop – Public Meeting 27-02-16


The Brook Valley Community Group

invites you to a


at the

Waimarama Community Gardens, Saturday 27February, 4 P.M.

Speakers: Cr. Tim Skinner
Tamika Simpson

Brief Background: An application has been lodged by the Sanctuary Trust to drop 24 tonnes of brodifacoum poison bait. Public notification has been denied, on the unjustifiable grounds that this will have a less than minor effect upon the environment. Your Council denies any ability to act. We think this a most unsatisfactory situation, for many reasons. Join us, to hear more.

Contact: mcdandosfarm@xtra.co.nz

Urgent notice – Your voice needed by this Friday.

What are your thoughts about 24tonne of poison bait being spread from a helicopter within 5km of the Nelson CBD?

Not 1080, no, this substance is more toxic, less humane, and more environmentally persistent than 1080. “DOC no longer uses brodifacoum widely on the mainland because of concerns about residues accumulating in non-target species.” http://www.doc.govt.nz/

It’s secondary poisoning risk is higher, and has been known to kill kaka, robin, silver eye, weka, kingfisher, harriers, dotterel, duck, fern bird, petrel, gull, kakariki, kiwi, more pork, stilt, pukeko, plover, saddleback, shag, skua and tui. (And that’s just the native birds killed and tested positive for Brodifacoum, to list all animals at risk would take all day.)
The site for this proposed drop is of course the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, home to a whole spectrum of indigenous fauna, some rare and endangered.

Unless you are an adjacent landowner, you will not be notified of this or given the chance to voice your concerns. There will be no public submissions, or hearing process.

However, concerned adjoining landowners need your support. If you want to voice your concerns, whatever you have to say can be included in the submission made by an “affected party”.

We want to challenge the notification, and open the discussion that effects may not be considered less than minor.

“Given the national threat status of several birds, the Nelson green gecko, the forest ringlet butterfly and two plant species listed in the AEE and either (potentially) present or to be introduced to the sanctuary, … the preservation or protection of resources in this environment is considered a matter of national importance” – Report commissioned by NCC.

If you want to help, please post your submission to savethebrook@gmail.com by this Friday Jan 22nd 2016.

Remember when an Iwi Leader was caught with 5 dead birds late last year, and faced charges under the Wildlife Act?
Or in 2010, when those tourists posted videos of themselves hunting Kereru, and the outrage that ensued caused them to promptly flee the country?
Why is it suddenly OK to cause the death of an unknown number of native wildlife when you’re calling it conservation? Death by hunting is certainly more humane than death by Brodifacoum…

Conservation Training


This cartoon illustrates well one of many reasons I believe a poison free sanctuary has more to offer the conservation community than does the current approach.

Pest control in New Zealand is undoubtedly a challenging affair. There are certain realities it would be helpful to admit and accept in moving forward with the sanctuary vision that are not currently being addressed.

  1. even with pest proof ( or more accurately pest resistant fencing ) the complete exclusion of mice and rodents cannot be guaranteed. See;
  2. Known adverse effects:
  3. It is well understood that Brodifacoum causes adverse effects in native bird populations through secondary poisoning. It is highly persistent within the environment and within tissues of poisoned animals. This presents a threat to predatory and scavenging birds especially. As Brodifacoum is a slow acting poison, prey species such as rodents can be active and without symptoms for days to weeks after consuming baits.
  4. While invertebrates are not susceptible to poisoning they have been shown to retain poison residues for some time after bait application. This poses a risk of secondary poisoning to insectivorous and omnivorous bird species also.
  5. Reptiles can also be susceptible to Brodifacoum, with skinks having been found dead with significant Brodifacoum residues.  The Brook Sanctuary is home to a number of lizard species including the rare nelson gecko.
  6. While this programme may have the “additional benefits in reducing possums, rabbits, deer, goats and pigs” it is designed for the eradication of rodents specifically. The removal of other “unwanted mammalian species…. Are covered in a seperate plan”
  7. The extent of toxicity is not debated. The justification is that adverse effects on native wildlife will be “minor and temporary in nature”

With the sanctuary providing a home to rare species such as the nelson gecko and the NZ falcon, it should be considered wether the loss of any of these individuals can really considered minor.

There are many instances within the application report that discuss how the effects of Brodifacoum on ecosystems are not readily understood, and that further research is required. Such required research remains impossible when the strategy of every NZ conservation project mimics the others. By providing a toxin free environment, the sanctuary trust would have the opportunity to invite comparative research from all around the country.

For example, Stephenson, B. M; Minot, E. O. 2006. Breeding Biology of morepork, discusses how breeding success of morepork was lower in the year following Brodifacoum application, but cannot conclude if this was due to adverse effects from the poison application, or a result of a lower availability of rodents as a food source.

Much doubt exists over wether pest numbers can be brought to a level to allow for the recovery of native fauna witnessed within other sanctuaries. Ongoing trapping has proven an ineffective control method on mainland sanctuaries, as re incursions of pests often overwhelm trapping rates. However, intensive trapping for rodent eradication has not been attempted within a fenced sanctuary in which the reinvasion of pests has been dramatically reduced. It cannot conclusively be said that it cannot be done, and given the risk to wildlife there is certainly an arguement that it should be attempted.

Personally I am somewhat puzzled as to why the area has been trapped for the better part of the last decade. At present, trapping is on hold while the fence is constructed, so pests have been reinvading since construction began. And now the plan is to eradicate all pests, at whatever density they have returned to, via aerial poison drops. What was the point in reducing pest numbers, only to allow them to increase to be killed off by the application of mass toxins?

Is it enough to accept the things you cannot change? Or is this the time to change the things you cannot accept. Think about it. The current resource consent application allows for the poison programme to be delayed until 2017 if it cannot be conducted in 2016. I propose using that year in between closing the fence and the winter of 2017 to apply the best and most innovative pest control technology to investigate if pest numbers can be satisfactorily reduced without aerial poisons. If not, the option is still open for aerial control, and much could be learned about the realities of pest control in the meantime.

Please do share your views. The consent application process does not allow for community discussion on the matter, being of a “limited notification” type, with those limited submissions due Jan 22nd. But that is not to say the discussion should not be had.

I look forward to hearing your views, whatever they may be,

best wishes,



Poison Drop Resource Consent Application – Documents

Hello Brook Community,

as as you may well be aware, the Brook Sanctuary Trust has announced their intentions to conduct a poison drop within the fenced area once fence building is complete.

Below are the links to documents provided to me by the NCC regarding the Resource Consent Application made by the trust for the proposed aerial poison drops. Continue reading

Brook Recreation Reserve Plan Adopted

A plan defining the type of activities that can occur in the Brook Recreation Reserve was adopted in principle yesterday by Nelson City Council.
The Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan will be used as a center for environmental education and conservation, and as a destination for camping and outdoor recreation, including commercial recreation and tourism development. Continue reading

Brook Plan – Post submisssions.

Hey All,
I went along to the hearing panel deliberations the other day, and it seems all our input has led to some positive improvements! Vision 1 – labelling the campground as an ‘international tourism hub’ is not to stand. Neither for that matter is vision 2.. Instead, a new vision has been drafted, which reads along the lines of;
“The Brook Reserve serves the community as a centre for environmental education and conservation and as a destination for camping and outdoor recreation, including appropriately-scaled recreation and tourism developments” Continue reading

Tiny houses ‘wow’ and inspire alternative living 

This article describes many of the benefits of ‘tiny homes’ such as those accomodated at the Brook Valley Campground. It also describes a real social benefit for having designated areas with clear rules and management. Here’s hoping the Nelson City Council keeps the proposed Brook Valley Relocatable Home Park viable and open to newcomers!


Last updated 11:05, September 5 2015

Retrieved from http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-property/71738464/tiny-houses-wow-and-inspire-alternative-living

Nelson and Tasman have long been beacons for alternative ways of living, with people calling yurts, shipping containers, house trucks, and in recent years, tiny houses, home. Stacey Knott reports on a growing trend.
Everything a person needs for comfortable living, including a fridge, bed, lounge space, full-size shower and even a double kitchen sink sits in a space seven metres long, and 2.4 wide. When people walk into the surprising spacious wooden house on wheels, owner Tracey Wood says many gasp a “wow”. Continue reading

Submission to draft Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan – Moira Bauer

Below is my personal submission to the draft Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan.
Its not as polished as I would have liked, sometimes life throws unexpected curve-balls that take your attention away from where you’ve planned to put it.. So be it! here it is.


Submission to the Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan

The Brook Valley is a quiet, peaceful, residential neighbourhood, shrouded in green hills, with a distinct character of tranquility. The setting is perfect for a wildlife sanctuary, with its close proximity to the both the Nelson CBD, and conservation reserve land stretching from the Brook over to the Aniseed, and on to meet the Richmond Ranges.

Continue reading

The fate of an idea: Cawthron Park Forestry – Nelson Mail

Nelson Mail – Saturday, August 1,2015

by Christopher St Johanaser 

Two weeks ago, I encouraged readers to look critically at the Council’s situation with regard to a forestry block at the head of the Brook. I suggested that the Nelson spirit could be rallied to replant it as a mixed shelterwood forest, employing our superb local expertise and volunteers to develop a forest that would be a test-bed for the future, an example to the world. The timing is perfect, as there is an imminent need for a new Forestry Strategy. The Council has decided in the interim to proceed forthwith to log these 25 hectares. The proceeds will apparently be devoured by an existing $2.1 million debt in their Forestry Account.

Continue reading

Letter to the Editor – Nelson Mail , Wed June 17

Dear Sir/Madam,

Cr. Barker showed good judgement at the Council meeting on Thursday 11th June. He declined to vote in debate over the Draft Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan. This was to avoid contaminating the independence of his role as one of a Panel to hear submissions on the Plan. Unfortunately, a correspondingly poor judgement was demonstrated by Crs. Noonan, McGurk and Matheson, also proposed members of this Panel. They demonstrated commitment to Vision 1 with their votes. What hope then for any independent perspective from them, any willingness, let alone ability, to engage with contrary views? Other panelists should now be found.

Regrettably, this matter demonstrates yet again the willingness this Council in general has shown to disregard proprieties in favour of vested interests.

If Cr. Lawrey and the Mayor continue to find the prospect of a gondola ‘very exciting’ perhaps they would appreciate being restrained, not to say tied down, to curb an unwarranted enthusiasm for a proposition still without a business case and certain to be high-risk. A wildlife sanctuary is no place for this kind of commercial venture. “Stars in their eyes”, says Cr. Skinner, and he is right.

Keeping the faith,

Christopher St Johanser
Brook Valley Community Group

Draft Reserve Management Plan due before Council

Greetings all,It’s been a while since my last update, but one is necessary now to inform you that the draft for the Brook Recreation Reserve Management Plan is due to be presented to Council on the 11th June.

We here at the Brook Valley Community Group, are of the opinion that this plan is flawed as it was proposed, and due diligence of the Reserves Act would be better served by gazetting an expanded area than attempting to apply the Reserves Act to a piecemeal collection of land titles.  

We also wish to reiterate that the plan appears to have been proposed to mitigate legal difficulties for projects already underway, which have been put on hold as this plan develops. 

I will be speaking to such matters, and others, at the public forum, along with Christopher of the Brook Valley Community Group. In particular I’d like to remind those around the council table about the realities of affordable accommodation, not only in Nelson but Nationwide, and argue the moral case that it is unethical to remove the availability of existing facilities, given the lack of affordable alternatives, and the realities awaiting those waiting to hear if they will be tossed out, to join the growing hordes of people waiting years for a HNZ home, sleeping in cars, being shuffled from one government or social support agency to another.. It’s not an angle they wish to take into consideration around the council table, but It is the reality nonetheless. 

Support in the gallery is always appreciated 🙂 other individuals who’d like to speak are also encouraged to do so!

In a way, now is the time when energies can be productively focused on this issue.  

The thing with these bureaucratic processes is they can proceed so slowly that by the time it counts, much of the opposition has exhausted itself in the meantime. A frustrating and futile outcome caused by a lack of understanding about political process.

The time is now though folks, the Brook Campground is a locally loved and Historical Asset. People live here, have made their homes here. Tell council to be wise about this, and not lose a beloved local asset (the campground) in favour of a sometimes contentious local asset (the fenced bird sanctuary) when we really could have both, new and improved.  

9Am Thursday 11th June – Council Chamber, Floor 2a, Civic House. Trafalger Street. 

Unite and Conquer – Meeting Sat 28th March

Greetings SavetheBrook followers,

There is something happening that you should be aware of.
We at the Brook Valley Community group have hatched a plan to combine with other community groups around Nelson, and are calling for activists / people willing to be actively involved, to unite our resources to hold the Council accountable to its citizens!
There seems to be some systemic mismanagement ongoing within our council, and as its’ citizens and therefore owners we need to do something about it if we want to continue to play a part in how this city grows and develops.
This meeting will be looking at broader issues than the Brook Camp, but be assured the Brook will feature heavily, as what is happening in this valley is generating concern within greater Nelson area also.
With that, I would like to heartily invite you all to attend our first meeting on Saturday 28th March, 3pm, in the Brook Camp lounge.
If your interested but cant attend, just contact us at savethebrook@gmail.com .
Spread the word!

Enough divide and conquer tactics, time to Unite and Conquer!

Storm Fallout…


The Nelson Residents Association predicted this slippage event over a year ago and notified Council, now after this rain damage the feedback has started. Both Councils have invested in the fence, and both may be asked to contribute more money… that means the ratepayers!

If you are a ratepayer, supporter of the Brook Sanctuary, a mountain biker or appreciate the Great Taste Trail write to the newspaper and your council with your concerns.

Here is a Letter to the Editor from Bryce Buckland:

It’s started. Just as many predicted it would. The first rain has caused a 22 meter section of the historic 3rd House track to collapse, crashing over the scarf made for the Brook pest proof fence.

As its 2.8 kilometers from 4 corners, with difficult machinery access, it will not be simple to make 3rd House track usable again. As well, the Sanctuary fence cannot be erected until the slip and huge trees are all removed.

This area of Brook Fence is cut through unstable terrain with a back slope up to 65 degrees. The probability of slope failure was obvious to most and the fence should not have been allowed anywhere near 3rd House track.

I would like to ask councilor Davies, will Brook Sanctuary meet a portion of theses repair costs? If, as I suspect, the answer is nil, it means Nelson ratepayers will pay the cost of damage. With serious weather events now predicted by NIWA to be a regular occurrence, and the fence undercutting the entire 3rd house track, slip damage will continue and Ratepayers can brace themselves for the bill.

Or, have we just witnessed the beginning of the end of the Historic track to 3rd house?

Further comments by Bryce:

Needless to say I am in the “I told them so” mode and I am really annoyed by this first collapse of the Dunn Trail. I sent my letter to the Nelson mail last night. I hope that others will do the same and write to the Mail.

You are quite right about them ignoring the warnings.

The earthworks for the fence line are finished. The contractors were to have finished yesterday and others can be heard banging in fence posts further down from the 4 corners. The cut into the hill side below the 3rd house track is pretty scary. The top side is around 10 meters or more above the fence track, and it’s far too steep to climb down it. It is also overhung with huge Beech trees and they are ready to fall.

I’ve been told that mesh for the fence is not woven mesh. They went for the cheaper option of a welded mesh fence. I have been told that as this gets a bit of corrosion on it, with a bit of age and significant tension on the wires and it starts to un-weld and just a bang with a branch will see wires detach from the welds and the whole mesh simply flies to bits.

The great taste trail may now become unusable and the chaos is just starting. Wait and see what happens when we get a “significant” rainfall event.

Yes the carnage to the historical third house track has begun.

I have had a look at the damage and its 2.8km up the 3rd house track from the 4 corners intersection. The slip has taken out 22 meters of the third house track and slips over the scarf cut for the fence. Had the fence been in place it would have been wiped out at that spot.

This after the very first spell of rain since the fence line cut was made. I have no idea how the council can repair this piece as it will keep slipping. It also means the fence cannot be put in place at this point until the entire slip is removed. 50meters by 20 meters and between 3 and 10 meters high with big trees in it will create a lot of work for the Council to fix all at ratepayers expense.

I am really concerned that this may be the beginning of the end for the third house track.

Will you and others write to Nelson Mail?

Regards Bryce

  • Retrieved from the Facebook Page of The Nelson Residents Association. – https://www.facebook.com/NelsonResidentsAssn?fref=ts – 11/03/2015