Piles of debris stockpiled in a bay featuring a protected surf break will be removed after work to re-open the earthquake-shattered highway north of Kaikoura is completed.
However, Mangamaunu Bay residents and surfers are still calling for the alliance responsible for re-building State Highway 1 and the Main North Line to remove them sooner.
A Facebook page ‘Save Mangamaunu Beach’ has collected close to 2000 likes, with many on the page voicing their concerns about the environmental impact of the stockpiles.
But the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance claims the piles, about 500 metres long and up to 8 metres high in places, are necessary to re-open the road.
NCTIR has held three community meetings to address the concerns, including one last Friday, and says it will continue to consult with residents and surfers as work continues.
The piles, at the northern end of Mangamaunu Bay, were more than a kilometre from the Mangamaunu surf break, one of 17 breaks around the country listed as nationally significant.
Nearby residents had volunteered to store the debris on their properties, instead of it being stockpiled in the bay, however NCTIR had continued to use the area as a dump site, it said.
‘‘We implore the council chairs and ministers to help us to encourage NCTIR to remove all this spoil with a sense of urgency and restore the area to its former state.’’
NCTIR environmental manager Manea Sweeney said the material stored at the stockpiles would be sorted to use in the rebuild of the highway, or moved to permanent dump sites.
‘‘The material will continue to be temporarily stockpiled and sorted at Mangamaunu Bay until the end of the project when the material is removed and the area is landscaped appropriately,’’ she said. NCTIR had included provision for a permanent stockpile at Mangamaunu in a recent resource consent application, but had decided it was not necessary for the piles to stay in the bay.
Sweeney said the alliance had consulted with numerous experts to assess the environmental impact, including a coastal engineer who concluded there would be no impact on the surf break.
‘‘Discussions with the Mangamaunu community and the Surfbreak Protection Society will continue through community meetings while this stockpile is still in use,’’ she said.