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Plans to stop rubbish dumping along Gisborne beachfront

31 Oct 2013

Plans to stop rubbish dumping along Gisborne beachfront

A plan has been agreed to that aims to stop the scourge of illegal rubbish dumping along the Gisborne beachfront. The sand dunes along Centennial Marine Drive between Midway Surf Club and the river mouth have long been the dumping ground for people’s rubbish.

The city beaches, one of the jewels in the district’s crown, are being tarnished by these actions. Gisborne District Council has a co-management plan with the Kopututea Trust, owners of the land, which includes a range of measures to address this ongoing problem. These actions have now been approved and work is beginning.

Te Kopututea is a very special place. The trust wants people to come and enjoy it, not see the land abused, says Pene Brown Kopututea Trust chairman. “To do this a little respect is required along with some practical actions.

“One of the problems along the seven kilometres of beach front is the fact that there are over 100 places vehicles can get access to the beach from the road, “These access points are often where the dumped rubbish is found. Working closely with Council the number of access points will be reduced from 100 to approximately 10.

Work has begun preparing many of these access ways for dune planting using the fill from the current beach grooming, says Nedine Thatcher-Swan, group manager community planning and development. “Bollards are being installed along the first 800 metres of the beach to just before the Green Light Beach access will be restricted to two places along this stretch. Eventually there will be parking spaces at these access points – off the dunes. This is where people will congregate in full view of vehicles passing by. The bollards have proved useful at keeping people off the dunes at Wainui Beach. If they prove successful along Midway, they will be extended along the beach intermittently with plantings.”

To start the ball rolling Council contractors will be doing a thorough sweep through of the area to pick up all visible rubbish. This will be completed in the next couple of weeks. Contractors will be actively looking for any evidence of where the rubbish came from. Any leads will be followed up and where possible culprits will face significant fines and their actions will be made known publicly.

“We know from the significant efforts of voluntary groups who have organised beach clean ups, that getting on top of this problem will not be easy. But we are serious about catching the people who are thoughtlessly dumping their rubbish and making an example of them. We are also serious about reducing the opportunities for people to slip onto the beach unseen and dump their rubbish.”

“We also intend to work with the Gisborne Crime Prevention Camera Trust to explore options to install CCTV’s at the remaining access points. But one of the best tools for catching people is for those that see anything suspicious to report it as soon as possible. Council has a 24 hour, 7 day a week contact centre. If you see anything, ideally photograph the vehicle and number plate and then tell Council immediately. If we know about it we can do something about it – clean it up and look for evidence to chase up any leads as to who did it.”

Mr Brown says “Although concerns about the amount of rubbish are still high, the Trust has noticed that things have improved over the last few years. Dumped car bodies and refrigerators are a rare sight now. Council have been excellent sending in rubbish crews once a week. This will now be increased to twice weekly beach clean ups to collect visible rubbish.

The land along Centennial Marine Drive is owned by the Kopututea Trust. Council is working on managing the site cooperatively with the trust. The work is being funded by some of the $50k which was added to Council budget for illegal dumping after a number of submissions were made during Council’s annual plan process earlier this year.