Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sand Mining at Whangamata

The photos in this post were taken form the same spot but different angles at the Whangamata boat ramp. The photo top shows the sand mining as a result of the Whangamata marina construction consents. The Public were never notified or told this was going to happen at the boat ramp. The sand is being excavated because the 1 kilometre channel connecting the excavated marina basin is naturally .25m - .5m deep at low tide. To operate the channel will require a depth of 1.7m at low tide.
The photo below shows in the right-hand foreground, the Whangamata boat ramp. It is river hardened sand and many people launch their boats in bare feet. Up to seven boats can be launched simultaneously. It is a safe boat ramp to use.
The rest of the channel can be seen meandering to the left. The line of poles mark the right hand side of the channel. It is this part of the channel where the piled sand has been mined.
What is clear is that months per year of sand mining will be required to keep the channel open, and that a dedicated spot on the foreshore and on land will be required to stack it. Yet the authorities have not told us yet where this will take place and who pays.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Perpetual un-notified consents?

The post of the 31 July 2009 was a submission by the Whangamata Camping Association to an application to the Waikato Regional Council (WRC). This application was for a coastal permit for exclusive occupation of foreshore at Whangamata. There are two other regulating authorities that also had a say in the application. These are the Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) who administer the boatramp, where the exclusive occupation is taking place, and the Department of Conservation who are seen as the owners of the foreshore and seabed on behalf of all New Zealanders.
The consent was granted to the private developers by WRC with input from TCDC and DoC around the date of 7 August 2009
The photograph below shows the sand bulwark under construction and the photograph above shows the structure with the machinery laying idle. When this machinery and structure is in use, it resembles a marine quarrying operation. The sand wharf structure has become larger since these photographs were taken.
The planners and lawyers who progressed the district and regional councils case through the courts and into Parliament, never forewarned that the boatramp would be given over to the private developers or that a marine quarrying operation would begin in a residential area.
The compliance officers at the District and Regional councils never knew this was coming until it was on their desk. Ten months into construction!
Part of the purpose of planners and lawyers who consult or work for Councils and Ministries is that they assess the effects of an application on behalf of those that pay them. They require some skills in understanding how something in a sensitive and controversial setting (the Whangamata estuary) will unfold.
The WRC, TCDC, and DoC are now saying that this sand and sheet steel bulwark and marine quarrying operation will be temporary. Are these authorities in control of the situation? How will the required dredging operations take place in the future?