By Mick Jensen
Molly Blain loves the peace and serenity of Wakanui Beach and wants more people to enjoy it as well.
She’s been a permanent resident at Wakanui for 10 years and has been visiting the quiet coastal spot for 25 years.
The area is special, she says, but more needs to be done to clean up the beach, to clear fallen trees from the dry creek and to encourage the growth of flora and fauna in the lagoon area.
Mrs Blain said the creek had run dry again this year and natives were struggling to compete with the likes of gorse, wilding pines and ice plants which dominated in some areas.
As the co-ordinator of a newly established biodiversity group, she was working with others to improve the environment at Wakanui Beach for “the long term” benefit of the community.
The group includes representatives from Ashburton council, ECan, DOC, Forest & Bird and Wakanui School and has begun drawing up a plan with the help of landscape architect Ines Stager to protect and encourage future growth.
The first step in the plan will include putting bollards across the start of the lagoon area on the north west side of the beach to prevent vehicles driving across plants.
Signs, explaining what the conservationists are aiming to achieve, will be erected later.
“I’m not one for sitting around and moaning, I prefer to be proactive.
“I want to see the beach area used by the community like it was years ago. I want to see families coming here for picnics, to play with a ball, or simply to enjoy the environment.”
Mrs Blain said dolphins swam past the beach twice a day and amazing agates could be found on it.
Birds, skinks and natives like ribbonwoods and rare convulvulus made the area a “special place”.
Mrs Blain has set up a Facebook group page called Friends of Wakanui to highlight the location and to tell people why it “soothes her soul” to live there.
The page has close to 200 likes and is being used to keep the community up to date on what is happening with the bio diversity project and to encourage people to get involved with any future working bees.