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Community and Public Health on the West Coast (Greymouth)

Nearly 33,000 people live in the Buller, Grey and Westland Districts, a 400 km long region between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This makes the West Coast one of the most sparsely populated regions in New Zealand. The remote nature of many small and isolated communities poses specific health challenges around sewage treatment and disposal, and potable water.

The natural beauty of the area attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, largely during the spring and summer months. This level of tourist activity carries some environmental risks for recreational water contamination and infectious diseases, especially in popular destinations such as Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and Punakaiki. The predominantly young and transient population of tourists and those employed in the tourism industry creates concerns around safe sexual behaviours and responsible alcohol use.

Healthy eating, being physically active and advocating the smokefree lifestyle are also important focuses for the staff at the Greymouth office. Significant work is currently targetted at promoting healthy ageing to the region’s older people, through initiatives around physical activity and injury prevention.

Community and Public Health is a partner in Active West Coast, so works with District Councils to improve and promote opportunities for physical activity. The Grey District Aquatic Centre is open and well used by the community, and major developments are occurring in Buller and Westland as part of their new physical activity strategy. Staff are also contributing to the development of a region-wide walking and cycling strategy.

The Greymouth office has also a Community Health Information Centre, providing a range of health education resources from the Ministry of Health and other providers.

West Coasters encouraged to whitebait responsibly

Buller District Council media release: 3rd September 2019

The Buller District Council, West Coast Regional Council and Department of Conservation would like to encourage whitebaiters to whitebait responsibly.

The rules and regulations around whitebaiting for 2019 remain the same as they have for the last few years.

Common offences during whitebait season include:

  • not remaining within 10 metres of a set net;
  • water between the river bank and screens; and
  • screens exceeding 3 metres in length;

Other offences include fishing within 20 metres of a culvert or confluence, with more than one net, off an illegal structure or with an oversize net. Offences can incur a fine of up to $5,000.

Whitebaiting is not permitted off Westport’s Port wharf structures for health and safety reasons.

The Regional Council would also like to remind whitebaiters on all rivers, not to leave any rubbish or other materials on the river bank or the bed of the river – such as spotter boards – after the season has finished.

Department of Conservation warranted officers will be actively enforcing the rules and regulations under the Whitebait Fishing (West Coast) Regulations 1994 during the whitebait season. They will be visiting the rivers in the Buller region that have consented whitebait stands..

The whitebait season for the West Coast of the South Island is 1st September to 14th November inclusive.



Healthinfo West Coast.

Page last updated: 07/10/2019

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