Land use patterns were changing in the area. Particular concern was held over the increase in farmland being planted in forestry for a multitude of reasons including the visible impact of the changes to the landscape, loss of housing, degradation of the roads, increased trucks of the road, and the use of chemicals.
“Management of stock is changing. Managing resources on farming land is changing but mainly because we’re being dragged there. You know, riparian planting and that, which is all good stuff.”
“There’s massive forestry planting going in. It’s a bloody shame. It’s just bullshit. They tout it as being good for the environment but it’s just not. They’re allowing overseas investors in through the back door and they’re blasting it with 1080, sprays I’ve never even heard of… And it washes down into our waterways because our reservoir is up there.”
“The farms that were up there used to have four or five houses on them, and it’s all forestry now. People can’t rent those houses. They’re all blocked off, there’s big signs saying no access. Five houses, good houses too. Just sitting there.”
It was noted that in the area surrounding Ohura there was plentiful and beautiful areas of native forest and lots of conservation areas, however:
“They are neglected and hard to access. Or they’ve closed them. Tracks are not up to spec, or bridges. Like the falls, that was a beautiful track and they closed it. It was boarded, all the way there. Then they took the boards away. You can’t get there now. We used to go there.”
“It’s important for the community to have those bush tracks. More things for people to do. Definitely. The Ōhura Falls track is just down the road from the Forgotten World Adventures and they’d love to have that as part of their offering.”
Participants held concern with the management of wastewater and run-off in Ohura.
“The drains. The culverts and stuff around. They’re blocked, or they’ve dug them so deep they don’t even… here’s the culvert and the drain sits down here so they don’t drain. And now we’ve got mosquitos. They’re so deep, they’re bloody dangerous! We’ve got to watch our daughter. These drains are deeper than me! We need some drains to take the ridiculous amounts of water away, but the ones that we do have aren’t taken care of.”
“And that’s why tunnel hill washed out because the culvert was blocked.”
In terms of changes to the natural environment and climate, it was raised that:
“It’s getting hotter.”
“I think the climate has changed. People in Matiere are saying they’ve run their tanks dry and they never have before.”
“It’s drier in the summer and wetter in the winter. A bit more foggy. But not the frosts, not the nice clear winter days.”
Flooding was the most significant risk for natural disasters in Ohura and it was felt that people were generally prepared for floods, especially people who had lived there a long time.
“It’s been the number one issue for many many years so there’s been a lot of thought and planning and funding put into managing it. This town’s pretty well resilient.”
“It’s not a very technologically advanced town so a lot of the old stuff (torches, radios) is still around. It’s also a really tight community so if we don’t have it our neighbour will.”