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Bay Bonanza this weekend - please be careful on the water

Friday 27  January, 2023

Gisborne’s Harbourmaster reminds boaties and those doing water activities this weekend that there’s still debris in the water from the recent storm.

Boaties heading out for the Bay Bonanza fishing competition are reminded to travel at a safe speed and keep a good lookout.

“It may take you a little longer to get to and from your favourite fishing spots but it will be worth it to make sure you and your crew are home safe.

“Check the weather before you go, make sure you wear your lifejackets and take two forms of waterproof communications with you,” says Gisborne Harbourmaster Peter Buell.

A large amount of debris remains in the bay following ex-tropical Cyclone Hale two weeks ago.

There is still woody debris under our bridges and woody debris coming ashore with the tides.

Forestry companies are removing debris from Waikanae and Tolaga Bay beaches this week.

But large amounts remain in our waterways both seen and unseen.

We urge you to take care, says Mr Buell.

Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann says Council has been asked if they considered closing the beaches following ex-tropical Cyclone Hale.

“Council does not have the legal ability to do this.

“The railway bridge at the Inner Harbour was closed yesterday because of the amount of woody debris still caught underneath it.

“As our weather starts to improve Eastland Group, who own the bridge, and Council have put up temporary barriers to stop access and prevent children from jumping into the water as the risk of unseen debris in the water is still high.

“The barriers will be removed today for the First Light Marathon scheduled tomorrow as the railway bridge is part of the course. However, they will be reinstated after it has finished.

“We know it’s frustrating to have our rivers and beaches in this state, and we are fully aware of the effects this is having on our people and our environment.

“Several resolutions were made at Council yesterday following the receipt of the petition from Mana Taiao Tairāwhiti.  Going forward we intend to pursue a number of options including our support for an independent review.  In 2022 Council staff started to develop a draft policy around the management of woody debris on our beaches. Following community and mana whenua engagement, we expect a Council decision on this in late 2023. This will consider how Council responds to this matter, and how this activity is resourced.”