Gisborne's 'weed problem

WEED PROBLEM: Organisers of the big surf lifesaving carnival at Midway this weekend were frustrated over who to get some action from over cleaning up the beach for the competition. Councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown got involved, asked some questions and found that seaweed was the problem. This morning part of the beach was cleaned but she wonders why the rest was not. Picture by Liam Clayton

GISBORNE District Council contractors cleaned seaweed and driftwood off part of the city beachfront this morning before a major surf lifesaving carnival this weekend.

But councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown wonders why it was such an issue and why more of the beach could not have been cleaned.

The seaweed washed up as a result of the recent southerly.

“I was contacted by organisers of the lifesaving event who were frustrated about who they needed to talk to over getting the beach cleaned,” Mrs Akuhata-Brown said.

About 300 surf athletes have entered the Champion of the Bays carnival including 11 outside clubs.

Organisers approached the council about cleaning about 250 metres of the beach around Midway Surf Life Saving Club, the venue for the championships.

“But they were told the seaweed could not be touched because it was a Department of Conservation responsibility.”

Mrs Akuhata-Brown said it was not fair on the organisers and they got “the run-around over it”.

The seaweed is DoC’s responsibility because it is part of the marine environment, and the weed is not covered under the resource consent the council has for beach cleaning.

At a meeting between GDC and DoC yesterday, it was agreed the beach grooming could go ahead as planned this morning.

A council official said it was necessary to separate the loose seaweed from the seaweed mixed up with little sticks.

“The loose seaweed needs to be moved further down the beach to be returned to the marine ecosystem on the tide,” she said.

Work starts early

Contractors started work at 4am and by 9am the section of beach was well groomed, with most of the seaweed removed and layered along the sand further west.

Mrs Akuhata-Brown said a meeting would be held with the council’s consents team next week to amend the resource consent to include how seaweed gets managed on the city beaches.

“I'm pleased to see the beach cleaned this morning because the surf carnival is a big deal for Gisborne.

“But I'm disappointed that more of the beach could not have been cleaned as well. This beach is the face of our place and it looks messy,” she said.

“We’ve got East Coast Vibes on this weekend at the outdoor theatre and there are still plenty of tourists here as well.

"It’s about pride and making the best use of our beach resource.”

The Herald was told it would take a day or two to groom the entire beach from The Cut to west of Stanley Road.

In previous summers, regular beach grooming was part of the annual summer beach maintenance programme.

  • A lifesaving spokeswoman said they were grateful the work had been done. “We look forward to being able to host our visitors and showcase our beautiful beach.”

GISBORNE District Council contractors cleaned seaweed and driftwood off part of the city beachfront this morning before a major surf lifesaving carnival this weekend.

But councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown wonders why it was such an issue and why more of the beach could not have been cleaned.

The seaweed washed up as a result of the recent southerly.

“I was contacted by organisers of the lifesaving event who were frustrated about who they needed to talk to over getting the beach cleaned,” Mrs Akuhata-Brown said.

About 300 surf athletes have entered the Champion of the Bays carnival including 11 outside clubs.

Organisers approached the council about cleaning about 250 metres of the beach around Midway Surf Life Saving Club, the venue for the championships.

“But they were told the seaweed could not be touched because it was a Department of Conservation responsibility.”

Mrs Akuhata-Brown said it was not fair on the organisers and they got “the run-around over it”.

The seaweed is DoC’s responsibility because it is part of the marine environment, and the weed is not covered under the resource consent the council has for beach cleaning.

At a meeting between GDC and DoC yesterday, it was agreed the beach grooming could go ahead as planned this morning.

A council official said it was necessary to separate the loose seaweed from the seaweed mixed up with little sticks.

“The loose seaweed needs to be moved further down the beach to be returned to the marine ecosystem on the tide,” she said.

Work starts early

Contractors started work at 4am and by 9am the section of beach was well groomed, with most of the seaweed removed and layered along the sand further west.

Mrs Akuhata-Brown said a meeting would be held with the council’s consents team next week to amend the resource consent to include how seaweed gets managed on the city beaches.

“I'm pleased to see the beach cleaned this morning because the surf carnival is a big deal for Gisborne.

“But I'm disappointed that more of the beach could not have been cleaned as well. This beach is the face of our place and it looks messy,” she said.

“We’ve got East Coast Vibes on this weekend at the outdoor theatre and there are still plenty of tourists here as well.

"It’s about pride and making the best use of our beach resource.”

The Herald was told it would take a day or two to groom the entire beach from The Cut to west of Stanley Road.

In previous summers, regular beach grooming was part of the annual summer beach maintenance programme.

  • A lifesaving spokeswoman said they were grateful the work had been done. “We look forward to being able to host our visitors and showcase our beautiful beach.”

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