Saturday, 26 June 2010

Proposed Harbour Dredging- effects on surfbreaks

The Otago Regional Council has received applications from Port Otago Limited for resource consents to:

  1. Deepen, widen and maintain the lower harbour channel, the swinging area and Port Chalmers berths, to allow the passage of larger ships to Port Chalmers,
  2. Dispose the dredge spoil to sea, and
  3. Extend the multipurpose wharf and to construct a new fisherman's wharf at Port Chalmers.
For the last two+ years members of the Otago surfing community have been regularly attending Meetings for the Next Generation Project (Port Otago Dredging) as part of the Public Consultative Group.
  • Graham Carse and Brett Hastie on behalf of South Coast Boardriders,
  • and myself, Nic Reeves on behalf of the Surfbreak Protection Society.
We have given our input and concerns over the effect the dredging and disposal of dredgings at the proposed sites will have on the quality of the surf breaks on the North Coast.
Affecting all the breaks from: Aramoana up to and including Karitane.
We have been assured through the AEE report that the dumping of spill will not have any adverse affects on the surf breaks. However we believe otherwise, as past disposal of dredgings in much lower volumes than proposed have had ongoing adverse effects on a number of breaks on the north coast, especially aramoana.

We stand on behalf of local surfers, but if you have any concerns or require assistance making a personal submission please contact any of us or leave a comment here.

Above, peaks at Aramoana

recent articles in the Otago Daily Times

Dredging plan will cut deep Mon, 21 Jun 2010
Historically, "out of sight, out of mind" has proven an effective policy when it comes to reducing costs, for big and little business alike.

While it may be ethically wrong to muffle, shuffle or even disown damaging behaviour by acts of stealth, the policy's high success rate ensures its long life.

So it is that Port Otago Ltd with its Project Next Generation will next month seek to sneak under the public's nose the largest and most destructive single act of industrial dredging that the Otago coastline has yet seen, notwithstanding our city's proud reputation as the Wildlife Capital of the World. read more here

Channel dredging application lodged By Simon Hartley on Fri, 28 May 2010
Port Otago has lodged a resource consent application with the Otago Regional Council for its proposed "next generation" $100 million channel deepening project.

Port Otago has spent about $1.5 million on various studies so far and, following consultation on the initial draft released publicly in February, says there are only minor changes to the final, approximately 200-page application.

It appears likely the application will be publicly notified and open for submissions. read more here

Fishermen oppose Port Otago's sand, silt proposal By Allison Rudd on Sat, 27 Mar 2010

Otago fishermen have formed a working party to write their formal response to Port Otago's plans to dump more than seven million cubic metres of sand and silt off Taiaroa Head.

Port Otago will soon apply for resource consent to widen the Otago Harbour shipping channel and dump 7.2 million cubic metres of dredge material 6.5km out to sea.

The Port Chalmers Fishermen's Co-operative fears the sand and silt may create a "dead zone" along the coast, threatening fishing stocks and their income.

About half the co-operative's 40 members attended a meeting on Thursday night to discuss the issue. read more here


Martin said...

Hi Nic,

Not sure how accurate this is but i'll put it out there. The original design of the 'spit' at Aramoana (so I was told) proposed that it extend out further and wrap with a right-hand hook, following the curve of the peninsula. This in turn created a 'vacuum' effect inside the harbour, negating the need for dredging. Now I'm no scientist/marine geologist/expert but this sounds possible and the source worked in the early years of the Portobello aquarium. An idea like this may be a viable option that harnesses natural ocean action - who knows? On thinking about it, it may also create an off shore bombie too?! Keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...


Please go to to see the anti-dredging group we have set up.


nic on 27 June, 2010 21:05 said...

I'm not anti-dredging anonymous.

Just here to ensure surfbreaks are not affected by the dredging and disposal or material.
To assist the Next generation project and inform them the bathymetric conditions that create surf breaks.. so that they do not ruin them during their proposed work.

David said...

Whangamata as so far unaffected by the marina despite many people saying opposite.

Maybe one day people will learn to attend meetings and gather facts and reports from all parties before deciding in the possible negative affects of a proposal.

Thank you Nicola for doing that work and to all the "i've an opinion but i'm uninformed" and just believe what i want is "Right" People - Learn to think because in the absence of information you act in an uninformed manner whereby you give people who really care about the Environment a Bad Reputation!

Martin said...

Going to meetings put me off the democratic process. Those meetings (in my experience) tend to have a them and us feel about them. How often in Dunedin and even nation wide does public consensus sit in the polar opposite of what governing bodies enact? Good work Nic and all the best - attending meetings is difficult as I'm not living in NZ at present, but believe me when I move home i'll be mucking in one way or the other.


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