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artificial surf reefs face global delays

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  • Paul Jenkin
    While funding has delayed the planned artificial surfing reef at Oil Piers in Ventura County, CA, it seems the technology faces complications around the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2007
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      While funding has delayed the planned artificial surfing reef at Oil Piers in Ventura County, CA, it seems the technology faces complications around the world...

      Thursday, 19 Apr 2007

      Wellington surf reef future hangs in balance

      Surging costs and funding issues have created a wave of uncertainty for a proposed artificial surf reef at Lyall Bay.

      The reef would be made using geotextile bags filled with sand dredged from Wellington harbour and provided free by CentrePort.

      The reef had a $1.55 million price tag when it gained Greater Wellington regional council resource consent in 2003.

      But Lyall Bay Reef Charitable Trust chairman Tony Lines estimated the cost had increased by $1 million, driven by uncertainty over when CentrePort would proceed with its harbour dredging programme.

      This could mean that alternative sand, possibly from the Otaki River, would have to be bought and trucked to the site at a cost of about $500,000.

      But even if the harbour sand were available, Mr Lines said there was still a timing problem for the reef's construction.

      "We would only be able to use the sand from dredging if we were able to build the reef at the same time as they dredged the harbour. We can't dump sand at Lyall Bay, we don't have the consent to do that, (so) I am not sure how practical that is."

      CentrePort chairman Nigel Gould said consents to dredge the harbour were in place but the work would be done only if large ships required all-tide access into Wellington harbour. "At this stage we don't have a final reading on that, so we sit on the consents and, perhaps regrettably for (the reef) project, we are forced to wait."

      The construction of New Zealand's two other artificial reefs, in Mt Maunganui and Opunake, have been plagued with weather delays in the past 18 months.

      At Mt Maunganui, one reef bag ruptured during sand pumping, creating a nine-metre-long tear. An unsuccessful repair job means construction insurance will now pay to manufacture, position and fill a replacement bag.

      Mr Lines expects similar problems in Wellington and a $500,000 contingency fund is needed to cover contractors' weather delay costs.

      The future of a reef trust-brokered deal involving the sale of a strip of land next to the beach is also unclear. The proceeds of the sale, which could top $1 million, would be used to partially pay for the reef.

      Lyall Bay's Real Surf shop owner Roger Titcombe, a foundation member of the surf trust, said surfers were disappointed at the lack of progress being made on the reef, which would increase the number of surfable days.

      Paul Jenkin
      Environmental Director
      Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter
      Coordinator, Matilija Coalition
      (805) 648-4005   pjenkin@...

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