Gisborne foresters censured
Gisborne District Council is putting harvesting crews under greater scrutiny to avoid this happening again.
HARVESTING OPERATIONS IN THE Gisborne region have come under greater scrutiny since the winter floods brought down masses of slash behind Tolaga Bay, which has led to 17 abatement notices being issued by the District Council.
In a newsletter published by the council, it says it has issued 17 abatement notices under the Resource Management Act to a number of the forestry companies in the Tolaga Bay catchment.
Those abatement notices required companies to cease actions contravening their resource consent conditions relating to forestry debris, skid sites, erosion risk and sediment control.
The newsletter goes on to say: “Given that some forestry companies have appealed their abatement notices, we can’t comment further while these cases are before the court.
“However, our enforcement officers have recently carried out inspections to check compliance and have found that forestry companies appear to have made good progress in addressing the issues highlighted in the abatement notices, in the forests they inspected.
“Unfortunately, we can’t give an absolute guarantee that there won’t be further collapses, debris issues and possibly flooding.”
The council says it has found issues where debris is lying on very steep-sided slopes and has worked its way into gullies where it is no longer retrievable by machinery or too dangerous for people to access, adding that “some of these areas are susceptible to landslides”.
It goes on to add that there are also issues beyond the council’s statutory powers and resources to address, where material has made it outside of the forest and large amounts of slash has built up in rivers or is already on flood plains in the catchments.
In the meantime, the Gisborne District Council is continuing its investigation into what caused the Tolaga Bay flooding and subsequent damage and expects this to be completed by the end of the year.