Update 5: Fox River clean-up

MEDIA RELEASE

Update 5: Clean-up response continues

Good progress continues to be made in cleaning up the West Coast says Westland District Council Mayor, Bruce Smith.

The Recovery Team, made up of Westland District Council staff, Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff and EnviroWaste Contractors are continuing to develop response options for the riverbed and landfill areas.

Six teams of 22 volunteers who are experienced outdoor specialists and guides are making headway into clearing the rubbish from the South Westland beaches. The teams have collected 56 fadges of rubbish, which will be removed to a central location for disposal. It is anticipated that some of the recovered waste can be recycled.

Teams are being transported to key areas of contamination by helicopter. Anyone who is still interested in volunteering over the coming weeks is encouraged to get in contact with the Recovery Team by email at foxlandfillresponse@westlanddc.govt.nz. Volunteers will need to ensure they bring adequate food and suitable clothing and footwear as well as sunscreen and insect repellent. The Council are working with South Westland Coastal Clean-up to ensure the health and safety of people working on the clean-up is well managed. Updates are available on the South Westland Coastal Clean-up Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/southwestlandcoastalcleanup/

All clean-up sites are currently being accessed using helicopter transport. Alternative options for site access are being assessed by the Response Team and assistance to manage these options is being sought. Following Friday’s meeting between officials from Westland District Council, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for the Environment, and waste experts from EnviroNZ in Franz Josef with Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and West Coast MP Damian O’Connor, three incident response specialists will be joining the response team on Monday.

Work is progressing on the closed Fox Glacier landfill with geotech fabric being installed along the exposed part of the landfill ready to be covered with gravel and rocks to further protect the area in the short-term.

Clean up of the areas immediately below the landfill and out to the Fox / Franz Josef River mouths have been identified as hazardous and not suitable for volunteers. Further specialist assistance has been sought to do this work.

Flights to determine the extent of the spread of the rubbish have identified points of concentrated contamination. Clean-up will take a number of weeks with significant resourcing required due to the extent of the issue.

Westland District Council is committed to bringing the local rivers and beaches back to good health. The Council is working with the Regional Council, the Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation and other agencies to implement the plan.

As well as volunteers assisting with the clean-up, the local business community has put their weight in behind the clean-up, with staff time, accommodation and food being provided for volunteers and clean-up teams.

ENDS

 

Media enquiries to:

Emma Rae, Strategy and Communications Advisor

Emma.rae@westlanddc.govt.nz

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