Thursday, 3 April 2008

Protect our Local Otago Surfbreaks

Get off your complacent butt!
If you want to continue to enjoy your beloved local surfing breaks, you need to start acting on an individual level to benefit the collective whole and ensure that our Otago surf breaks and swell corridors are preserved. Don't think that 'someone' will take action to ensure that these surf breaks are not destroyed by avoidable man-made environmental disasters.

A once in ten year opportunity has arisen with the revision of the NZ Coastal Policy Statement. This statement guides the management of the coastal environment under the Resource Management Act. Council planning and resource consent decisions must adhere to the policies in this statement.

NZCPS - Policy 20

The surf breaks at AHIPARA, RAGLAN, STENT ROAD, WHITE ROCK, MANGAMAUNU AND PAPATOWAI which are of national significance to surfing shall be protected from inappropriate use and development by:

a) ensuring that activities in the coastal marine area do not adversely affect the surf breaks and;
b) avoiding, remedying and mitigating adverse effects of other activities on access to and the use and enjoyment of the surf breaks.

The New Zealand Surfbreak Protection Society says of the already proposed protected surf breaks:
"Of course many surfbreaks are missing and the breaks also need specifying as to their proper names and location. This is where you can help.

In preparation for its submission workshop in April, Surfbreak urges all surfers, be it as individuals or clubs, to let Surfbreak know what breaks you consider should be prioritised for national importance in your region and included in the NZCPS. Please provide names and exact location. An opportunity for a review like this only comes around every 10 years, so here is our chance for protection of our breaks at national level!"

Now I can think of a number of surf breaks around Otago/Dunedin that are currently under threat, having already experienced a dramatic change in character in recent years.
Murderers- the dumping of dredged sand from continual Otago Harbour dredging at Haywards Point has seriously changed the characteristics of the breaking wave with sand build up along the rocks.
Aramoana - sandbanks further offshore created from dumped dredging sand have dissipated the swell reaching the inner surfing banks.

Currently the Otago Harbour Board is conducting a public consultation process due to their intention to begin a massive environmentally impactful mission to deeper the Otago Harbour to allow massive ships to enter. The massive volumes of dredging will be dumped not far offshore and will quite possible have an even greater adverse effect on the North Harbour Surf Breaks. Did I say massive? This is BIG stuff. Having just one of these northern breaks protected under the NZCPS-policy 20 as a 'surfbreak of National Importance' - would legally ensure that any proposed future activity would not compromise at all the quality and natural charactistics of these breaks.

St Clair - A surf break of National Significance? debatable?
It has many unique characteristics, proximity to a major city, quality of waves popularity and public use. St Clair suffers from ongoing issues of water contamination, adverse effects created by the Sea Wall redesign on surfing banks with a marked deterioration of the quality of surf (ask the old guys). Severe erosion over the last two years, loss of a dry sand beach, loss of amenity value and others issues which pose a serious physical danger to members of the public.
St Clair is just an example of how a surf break can be progressively ruined by an un-reigned consent process. (Remember with the public consultation in 2001 and subsequent consents granted, we were assured there would be no adverse affects on the environment or amenity value)
We are facing more future consent applications which may again have an irreversible and detrimental affect on St Clair and St Kilda in the future.

Lets protect what we love, because the DCC and ORC don't seem to care!

DO you care?
What are you going to do?
I would be very grateful to receive any comments on this blog post.
- What it was like at these breaks 5-10-20 years ago
- Changes you have observed
- Your willingness to back a submission.
- Any other comments
or email me privately at phoam.arts (at) gmail (dot) com

If you have not seen my other blog Save Ocean Beach - I suggest you pop over and check it out.

Consultation closes: 5pm on the 7th May 2008
How to make a submission:
Link to Submission Form

Any person may make a submission on the proposal. You may do so by sending a written submission to:

Board of Inquiry - Proposed New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement
C/- The Department of Conservation
PO Box 10 420

Submissions may also be emailed to
Your submission should state whether you support or oppose the proposal; any changes that you want made; and reasons for your views. Your submission must state whether or not you wish to be heard on the submission.
Your submission should include your name, postal address, phone number and (if applicable) email address.

Download Publication

Proposed New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2008 (PDF, 5910K) (High resolution file)

Proposed New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2008 (PDF, 171K) (Low resolution file)



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