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Artificial Reef at Orewa Beach low priority

The New Zealand Underwater association feels that the creation of an artificial reef at Orewa Beach should be a low priority for the Rodney District Council

The Rodney District Council has taken a Position of not supporting a proposed a marine reserve around Tiritiri Island and The Whangaparaoa Peninsula. The council has stated publicly that is does not endorse the protection of the coastal areas that it already has in its electorate without creating new ones, marine biologist, Peter Crabb says.

The Rodney Economic Development Trust is seen by some as a fiscal authority for this region. The Trust recently tabled a report at parliament documenting how the Leigh Marine Reserve injects 12 million dollars into the Rodney economy annually. It is fair to assume that the long lasting economic benefits of a marine reserve around the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Tiritiri Island would be the same if not greater.

Mr Adams and Mr Law can extol the virtues of an artificial reef for snorkelling yet it is unlikely they would support any protection status, so any snorkellers might have little to see, Mr Crabb Says.

Irrespective of how much like the Gold Coast an artificial reef would make Orewa, the priorities of any council seriously considering such a venture must be examined. The considerable funds used on such an ambitious project could go a long way towards improving the current sewage system, which is Roman in technology and design. The thinking that says we can continually use the sea as a sink for our effluent is outmoded and needs to be assessed. This is especially true for systems that are being designed to cater for the next fifty years.

Now that it is 2003, the technology actually exists to treat, manage and dispose of effluent so that nutrient enrichment and contamination of the sea with heavy metals and viruses is no longer necessary. The opportunity for The Rodney District Council to create a sewage system that fits with the new millennium and support the creation of a Marine Reserve around Whangaparaoa are political accolades they could truly be proud of. The concept of creating a “Mini Gold Coast” in one area, while pumping out human effluent treated to a low level into the ocean downstream is just not acceptable.

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