Campaigner wants ‘sausages’ removed
A LONGTIME little blue penguin campaigner is calling for the removal of sand sausages at Oamaru Harbour.
Lorraine Adams, of Oamaru’s Coast Care, said this week she would not sign off the district council’s application for retrospective consent for its rock armouring work at Oamaru Creek, north of Holmes Wharf. And she wants the sand sausages at the beach removed after their installation was abandoned.
‘‘The installation of the sand mattress was a mistake and, thankfully, a failure,’’ she said. ‘‘The mattress on the beach should be emptied of sand and material removed.’’
The Otago Regional Council (ORC) granted the Waitaki District Council resource consent for the installation of the sand sausages as coastal erosion protection, despite Ms Adams’ protests.
But on July 7, with work under away, the council said an offshore ‘‘oneinseven year storm event’’ on June 25 to 27 removed too much stone, gravel and sand from the beach for the sand sausages to be properly installed, and the plans were scuppered.
Rock armouring was installed as an emergency measure.
Ms Adams rejected the council’s claim a storm changed the beach and said because the council rushed into the rock armouring, it made mistakes.
In a letter to the ORC, supplied to the ODT, she said rock armouring was ‘‘the only option’’ for the beach but the placement of rocks on the beach was too near the high tide mark.
The fibre coating of the mattresses was falling off and entering the marine environment, which ‘‘could pose a hazard to marine birds’’.
‘‘If the mattress is to remain as a large blot on the coastal landscape, Coast Care requests immediate removal of the fibre cover.’’
For the council not to be
PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
granted a retrospective consent for rock armouring at Oamaru’s foreshore would be rare, ORC consents manager Chris Shaw said.
But conditions, to ‘‘minimise any adverse effects’’, were also likely.
In an email, Mr Shaw said the ORC’s decision would take two weeks, as the staff report on the application had yet to be completed.
Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the mattresses were damaged during the storm that led to the emergency work. It was hoped they would have been naturally covered by gravel before any large storms.
The ‘‘whole point’’ of the project was to protect the area and to be good environmental stewards.
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony research scientist Philippa Agnew said the colony had signed off the retrospective consent.
The Department of Conservation also signed off unconditionally on the application for retrospective consent, Mr Shaw said.
‘‘If, for some reason, the council [ORC] decided not to grant consent in this case, the work that was done under the emergency provisions would still need to be . . . put right . . . and there would be conditions attached to that requirement.’’
Fibre concern . . . The brown fabric covering of sandfilled tube mattresses installed over winter as erosion protection at Oamaru’s foreshore is coming loose and Coast Care’s Lorraine Adams is calling for the Waitaki District Council to remove the ‘‘hazard’’.