Update on Whangamata dredging events since November 2012
The Whangamata marina is in breach of the Waikato Coastal Plan and its existing dredging consent conditions even while applying for new dredging –Lift and Drift consents, to dredge the new marina access channel, pictured below.
The marina owners have been using a modified plough like device to lift and let sand drift out on the outgoing tide, and are using a rule in the coastal plan to do this that allows for no more than 100 cu meters per month to be disturbed, The Whangamata Bar Report made estimates based on the device pictured below.
Since the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) have been reviewing the Lift and Drift activities over the last four months the marina owners have been using a much smaller plough device, similar to the one in the photo below.
Yet the amounts officially accepted that as been disturbed during this consent review are still over four times that allowed under the coastal plan rule 16.10.1.
The Waikato Regional Council has decided not to prosecute for this breach of the Coastal Plan.
The Surfbreak Protection Society still stands behind its figures from the Whangamata Bar Report which estimates volumes of 1200 cu meters disturbed previously when the marina owners were using the device attached to the red scallop boat pictured at the beginning of this article.
Dredging began on the 9th of December. Hauraki Iwi groups are concerned of the diminished quality of seafood from the Kai moana beds that the new marina access channel now traverses.
The marina owners also failed to give Iwi groups a month to comment on its dredging plan, a condition(28) of the original marina Coastal Permit 953758 granted by the crown.
The dredging plan had not been approved by the Council at the time that dredging commenced.
Iwi groups have objected to this disregard of consent condition 28, so far Waikato Regional Council have not decided whether they will prosecute this breach, although WRC Consents officer Christin Atchinson is undertaking an audit.
The Surfbreak Protection Society (SPS) is still awaiting a response from the WRC CEO Bob Laing to a letter that SPS sent to Mr Laing on the 9th of November 2012.
The letter requested that the Marina owners install a 3d camera modelling system to measure wave quality on the Whangamata Bar.
The Marina owners are obligated to monitor the famous surfbreak for any possible adverse effects associated with marina dredging activities regarding surfing at the Whangamata Bar as part of the consent conditions.
The Marina dredging consents are currently under review because of the report released by SPS in 2012 highlighting deteriorating surfing wave quality that corresponds with dredging events.
SPS asserts that it is near impossible to quantify deterioration in wave quality using the current monitoring methodology without the 3d wave modelling camera, and WRC are not observing the meaning of the consent condition inserted by the Crown.
The Marina owners have made it known that they will now be applying for new consents to use the Lift and drift method.
SPS asserts that these new consents must be notified to allow unbiased assessment of all possible adverse effects on the environment.
WRC stated before Christmas that so far they have not received an application from the marina owners.
SPS questions why WRC hesitate to enforce the consent conditions and uphold the Regional Plan while an international tourism asset (The Whangamata Bar) is deteriorating because of these illegal activities?
The Whangamata Bar is recognised and named in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010.
The Surfbreak Protection Society is receiving legal advice from the Environmental Defence Society, and is hoping to have a meeting with all concerned parties later this month.
Related article: http://www.surfbreak.org.nz/?p=2964
Here is a copy of the SPS Whangamata Report: