Seals count cost of quake road re­build as dozens found dead

Sunday News - - NEWS -

DOZENS of seals have died due to the high­way re­build fol­low­ing last Novem­ber’s earth­quake, de­spite the best ef­forts of the work­ers.

In the past three months, the North Can­ter­bury Trans­port In­fra­struc­ture Re­cov­ery al­liance (NCTIR) has recorded 41 seal deaths caused by earth­works or road re­build ac­tiv­i­ties.

Work­ers have found 294 dead seals over the same time pe­riod, but the cause of the re­main­ing 253 deaths is un­known – but not thought to be re­lated to the works.

NCTIR en­vi­ron­men­tal man­ager Manea Sweeney said they were do­ing "ev­ery­thing they can" to min­imise deaths and teams of seal han­dlers were work­ing 24 hours a day to match the sched­ule of the road works.

Sweeney said NCTIR had a "ro­bust" en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment frame­work which helped the con­struc­tion crews with how they should go about their work. The en­vi­ron­men­tal team was made up of about 40 peo­ple.

"With the sheer scale of it, this could be the largest en­vi­ron­men­tal team on a con­struc­tion project ever in New Zealand."

A DOC spokesman praised the "care and con­sid­er­able ef­fort" work­ers had shown.

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