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Update 2: Fox River closed landfill clean-up


This landfill was originally developed by the local community in the 1940’s, with resource consent gained in the 1960’s, in an old river channel with the river course some distance away from the landfill site. The weather event of the past week forced the river through approximately 40m of bush, which caused the site to erode.

The following information is an update about the plan for clean-up the rubbish from the breached Fox River closed landfill.

The team leading the clean-up (including Westland District Council, West Coast Regional Council, DOC and Local Community Leaders is aware of the urgency required, but a well-developed plan is needed to ensure that the clean-up is undertaken safely. The key risks include the potential health hazards from waste material, and also environmental risks related to working around rivers, and in remote areas.

Tomorrow, Thursday 5 April, four teams of DOC staff and local community volunteers will be undertaking an initial clean-up around the Waiho river entrance. Council staff will also be undertaking further shoreline assessments. Helicopters will be taking people to less accessible areas where they get onto the ground.

Toby Barach, Principal Advisor – Coastal Catchments from Bay of Plenty District Council, who is assisting Westland District Council to coordinate the response, says that the health and safety of all the staff and volunteers is of the utmost importance and having a good plan in place will provide for this.

Cleaning up as much of the rubbish as possible will take a considerable amount of time. There will be rubbish that has been buried beneath debris from the storm, and the shifts in the tides or further rain events may result in more rubbish washing up.

We would love to hear from keen volunteers or anyone wanting to support the clean-up effort. To register your interest please email foxlandfillresponse@westlanddc.govt.nz with any specialist capabilities and your availability.

Westland District Council is committed to managing the issue in the long term and bringing the local rivers and beaches back to good health.

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