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Waiho Bridge reopening increases access for landfill cleanup

The Fox River landfill clean-up is expected to make good progress this week, following the opening of the Waiho Bridge, which means volunteers can use vehicles to access remote locations, rather than relying on helicopter transport.

The Westland District Council will continue to use helicopters to transport teams to areas inaccessible by 4WD vehicles until Wednesday and for ongoing aerial surveys throughout the response.

During the weekend, a team of volunteers completed a survey of the Fox River and Cook River. This survey extended 20 kilometres, from the old Fox landfill to the Tasman Sea.

The survey mapped areas of importance for rubbish recovery in the coming weeks. It provides accurate coordinates to teams to locate waste more readily. The survey also helped the Council confirm completed areas and where to collect bulk bags of waste from the clean-up, as well as providing a visual assessment for third parties to review.

This week, volunteers and the Department of Conservation (DOC) crews will access sites using 4WD vehicles. The Council is trying to source appropriate vehicles from other supporting agencies and businesses.

“We have made significant progress in the clean-up in the past week. The aerial footage will assist significantly in efforts this week as we can pinpoint locations and determine the best route for access,” says Local Recovery Manager, Te Aroha Cook.

“During the weekend, our volunteer teams worked on cleaning-up Sandfly Beach, Saltwater Bay to 700m up the lagoon, Fox Cook River Mouth – South, Waitapi Creek, and Fox Cook River Mouth – North.

“It is estimated that volunteers have collected 37 large bags of rubbish so far.”

Volunteers are collecting rubbish that spread onto beaches and rivers when severe flooding breached an old Fox River landfill nearly three weeks ago.

Further updates are available on the South Westland Coastal Clean-up Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/southwestlandcoastalcleanup/ and Westland District Council’s website https://www.westlanddc.govt.nz/.

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