Stream blockage still in place

This stream, which used to flow into Karepiro Bay, has been blocked off for more than a year.

A small stream that used to flow into Karepiro Bay is still blocked by a wall of infill put there by the developer, despite an agreement reached around nine months ago to reinstate it.

Environmental groups say the stream is important to the Long Bay Okura Marine Reserve ecosystem and that the movement of water from it created a raised area where shorebirds can roost in safety.

The developer, Weiti Development LP, obtained resource consent to block the stream to create a wetland, and did so in May 2017. Following a challenge by environmental groups Keep Okura Green, Friends of Okura Bush and the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society, the company agreed to remove the diversion (HM September 20, 2017).

However, on May 8 – a year since the dam was put in place – Weiti Development LP director Evan Williams advised the paper that the company has deferred the stream reinstatement until after winter, saying it is too wet now to do it safely.

He says before reopening the stream, contractors needed to complete the decommissioning of the construction sediment ponds in an area known as “the hay paddock” – these are no longer required as earthworks in that area are complete.

“Those ponds had to be removed before works to reinstate the stream, to avoid the risk of multiple working faces in a sensitive area,” Mr Williams says. “This approach is best practice. These works were programmed to commence late January, however, unseasonable rain in February and March delayed them.”

That work was completed in early May.

Mr Williams says the company then attempted to tackle the stream restoration but the ground remains wet and is unable to safely support the machinery required for removal of the bunds.

“We have also been advised that re-opening the stream now, in the winter construction season, would constitute a high risk operation on land adjacent to the beach and the marine reserve, and that the works can be completed in the summer season with greatly reduced environmental risk,” he says. “Our commitment to restore the stream remains, and we will do it the minute it gets drier.”

Peter Townend of the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society says this is not good enough. “They had all summer to do it,” he says.

Mr Townend says the group is weighing up all its options, including legal action, to get the stream unblocked in a timely fashion.


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