by Al Williams
Plastic has been escaping on to a beach from a former landfill south of Timaru.
Remedial work has been done at the Normanby beach in recent weeks, including building a rock wall to stabilise the edge of the old landfill and stop further erosion, the Timaru District Council and Department of Conservation said this week.
Initial costs for consultation, design, consents, earthworks and the construction of the rock wall were $40,000, council waste minimisation manager Ruth Clarke said.
The 3ha Ellis Rd site, which was used a dump between the 1960s and 1980s, borders the beach and a wetland.
TDC and Doc staff inspected the site in November 2013 after complaints rubbish was being eroded from the former Strathallan County County Council dump.
Initial signs of erosion from the sea and some material escaping the landfill from the seaward edge, as well as the area’s growing popularity as the southern access to the Timaru coastal path, “hastened the decision to undertake remedial work to improve the site”, Ms Clarke said.
A combination of engineering reports, design work and the resource consent process for the rock wall had extended the timeline, she said.
Doc community supervisor Chris Coulter said this week part of the reserve was administered by the department, including the wetland and the former Strathallan County Council dump site.
“The plan for the future is to undertake weed control and plant the old tip site with appropriate native coastal shrubland species,” Ms Coulter said. “There will also be enhancement plantings in the wetland remnant.”
Ms Clarke said significant planting had been carried out along the edge of the neighbouring coastal walkway connecting Ellis Rd and Jacks Point.
“The next stage of the project will be tidying up the fencing around the area and the adjoining wetland and ensuring the newly cleared area is prepared for planting at a later stage.
“The end result will be a new nature reserve with an adjoining wetland, which will feature a variety of coastal plants and views to the ocean, and will make a great destination for people walking or cycling the coastal track.”
“the rubbish is eroding from the active face where the beach is in retreat. The zone of rubbish decomposition is about half a metre in depth along the face but will extend further back and attenuates to much thinner deposits on its southern flanks.”
Doc did not assume any responsibility, as it was former council ratepayers who benefited from the dump.
It was agreed the TDC engineering adviser would develop an appropriate approach to develop the site and get back to Doc on the next step, the report concluded.