Cam­paigner wants ‘sausages’ re­moved

Otago Daily Times - - Regions - HAMISH MA­CLEAN

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


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’’.

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