Dredging application withdrawn at Russell's Uruti Bay

Work has stopped at this Uruti Bay site while landowners work through the resource consent process. Photo / Supplied
Work has stopped at this Uruti Bay site while landowners work through the resource consent process. Photo / Supplied

An application to dredge in a pipi bed for boat access has been withdrawn after an outcry from Russell residents.

Staff from the Northland Regional and Far North District councils inspected a property at Uruti Bay, also known as Pomare Bay, last Thursday after being contacted by the public about a development which included a new jetty, earthworks and culverting of a stream.

The jetty had a resource consent but not the land-based work, which has been halted at the request of the regional council and Heritage NZ.

An application for consent to dredge part of the seabed next to the jetty had been withdrawn after the applicants gained a better understanding of the shellfish beds in the area and community concerns, regional council coastal consents manager Paul Maxwell said.

Instead they had come up with an engineering design that eliminated the need for dredging.

Meanwhile, the landowner was likely to need a regional council consent for culverting the stream and district council consent for the earthworks. Consent for the stream was expected to be straightforward because it flowed only intermittently.

Consent was not required for the vegetation clearance - mostly pines, wild ginger and a large Norfolk pine were removed - but was likely to be needed for the earthworks carried out to access the trees, he said.

The landowners had plans to replant the property but in the meantime, while they waited for consents, they would stabilise the site by "hydro-seeding" the cleared area. They were also required to increase silt and erosion controls to stop more sediment reaching the water.

Any work observed at the property at present would be for those reasons, Mr Maxwell said.

The Norfolk pine was not listed on the Far North District Plan's schedule of notable trees but a former owner of the property, Alister Taylor, said it was significant nonetheless.

Mr Taylor said the almost 200-year-old tree was one of a few survivors of the "Marsden Norfolk pines" brought from Australia as seedlings by the Rev Samuel Marsden and planted around the Bay of Islands as landmarks for arriving seamen.

The New Zealand Tree Register dates the arrival of the first Norfolk pines to 1836 when seedlings were brought to Northland by John Edgerley, botanist to Lieutenant Thomas McDonnell.

Russell tree expert Kent Thwaites said one of the seedlings was planted at Waitangi by Agnes Busby, the wife of James Busby, while another was planted at the end of Te Wahapu Peninsula near Russell. Both have survived.

There was no record of any of those first Norfolk pines being planted at Uruti Bay but it was possible because a box of seedlings was given to Gilbert Mair, who lived at Te Wahapu at the time.

- Northern Advocate

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