OPINION: THE AIRPORT’S DISREGARD OF PUBLIC SAFETY IS COMING UNDER SCRUTINY – YET AGAIN

A little over week ago, a white Subaru got washed off the Moa Point breakwater by a ‘rogue’ wave. Some reports said the car’s occupants were fishing “at the popular fishing spot”, whilst eye (and social media) witnesses said that 3 people were actually inside the car when the wave struck them. They had to smash their way out through the windows and were lucky to get out of the wild ocean alive. This is not the first time a car was swept off that breakwater, and people have died there in the past, according to locals. An airport spokeswoman wrongly claimed that the metal safety barrier had “recently been damaged by the storm or vandalised”. Now, that ‘barrier’ has long been broken, and the breakwater safety sorely neglected by the airport. As with the entire southern end of the runway, the breakwater is an eyesore full of dangerous rocks, akmons and crevices and open to the pounding southerly waves. We can often watch giant waves break over the entire runway end and the breakwater, with holes spurting water several metres high. We also often watch people fishing off the breakwater, including taking their vehicles up there. Most fishermen aren’t Read More …

Scoop – Surfers opposing runway extension, defending Lyall Bay

Originally published on Scoop News from WPW The Surfbreak Protection Society, New Zealand’s national surfers’ environmental organisation, is opposing Wellington Airport’s application for resource consent to extend its runway because of the impact it will have on surfing and the surfing environment on Wellington’s South Coast. Michael Gunson of the SPS says community groups, local businesses and individuals need to get informed about the proposed extension and what it could mean to their quality of life. “This project will unfortunately not return the benefits that the Airport and the City Council are promoting. Given the events of the last week, it is even more important that a project of this size, which is heavily reliant on public funding to get it across the line, is put under proper scrutiny. Something that has not happened yet. “In addition to the worrying economic figures that came out of the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s report last month, saying that the estimated cost of the extension would be $428m but likely to rise to almost $500m, compared to the Airport’s estimation of $300m, SPS are focusing their concerns on the impacts to the surfing at Lyall Bay. “Both the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Read More …

RE-BLOG SURFBREAK PROTECTION SOCIETY: “DUDE, WHERE’S MY SURF BREAK?”

By Michael Gunson WIAL’s grand plan for Lyall Bay’s surf breaks: The Surf break Protection Society (SPS) would like to think that its submission opposing Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL)’s airport extension and artificial swell focus reef is the cause of the airport company’s decision to suspend and revise its consent application. The reality is probably that the society’s submission is only one of a number of high quality submissions that have led WIAL to suspend the process. After recent investigations and inquiries by SPS, WIAL have stated that they have no plans to increase the Moa Point Rd seawall, next to the Corner surf break, during the next 12 months. This has come as a bit of a surprise to Wellington surfers, as it was assumed these works since 2000 had been undertaken by the Wellington City Council, not the largely privatised WIAL. The works on the seawall are undoubtedly having an adverse effect on the Corner surf break, Wellington’s most popular surfing venue. These works coincide with WIAL seeking the deletion of the Corner surf break from the GWRC Natural Resources Plan (PNRP)’s schedule of regionally significant surf breaks. WIAL have been modifying the Moa Point Rd seawall Read More …

RE-BLOG SURFBREAK PROTECTION SOCIETY: Wellington Airport Calling the Tune on Lyall Bay’s Corner surf break

by Michael Gunson Link here Revelations have emerged that Wellington International Airport Ltd has been responsible for alterations to the Moa Point Road sea wall in Lyall Bay. Why has the airport been in charge of developing the sea wall, and not the Wellington City Council? The incremental creep of the sea wall has had a negative impact on Wellington’s premier Lyall Bay Corner surf break. WIAL are also applying for consents to build a 3 meter wide promenade the length of Moa Point Rd, as well as seeking the Corner surf break’s deletion, from a GWRC schedule of regionally significant surf breaks. Since the beginning, the airport company has reassured Wellington surfers that it is doing all it can to preserve our surf breaks in Lyall Bay, to mitigate future impacts and even improve it. As we stare down the barrel of their proposed runway extension, it is now becoming clear to Wellington’s surfing community that this is not the case. The 346-page Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) only discusses mitigation, not active avoidance or a plan to remedy adverse effects on the Corner. WIAL has submitted 28 documents to the Wellington City Council (WCC) and the Greater Wellington Read More …

BLOG: MORE AND MORE WELLINGTONIANS ARE BECOMING CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROPOSED AIRPORT EXTENSION

Opposition to the proposed runway extension is growing if attendance at the recent Guardians of the Bays information evening is anything to go by. A diverse range of groups, from business, community, recreational and environmental organisations are asking questions to peel away the public relations spin around the ill-conceived, expensive airport extension proposal. Groups as diverse as Forest & Bird; various Residents’ Associations; Wellington businesses; Save the Basin; the Surfbreak Protection Society; Hue te Taka Society; OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council; the Wellington Underwater Club; 350.org and the Green Party, to name a few, were represented at last week’s meeting. It quickly became clear that everyone present was deeply concerned at the spin being put out by the airport company, and the potential cost it will have to ratepayers and taxpayers, and of course to the beautiful Wellington south coast. The meeting was MCed by Bishop Richard Randerson, who has national standing for his work in faith-based and place-based communities. He made it clear that an airport extension does not make Wellington more progressive, particularly when the ratepayers and taxpayers are being asked to subsidise one of New Zealand’s wealthiest companies. Dr Sea Rotmann, co-Chair of the Guardians Read More …

RE-BLOG STAB MAGAZINE: How To Torch A Surf Spot, With: Wellington International Airport

All is not well in Wellington. By Words by Jake Howard | Photos by Anthony Green Link If you’ve ever had to go through customs in New Zealand, you’ll know they don’t f*ck around when it comes to protecting their unique environment. Have a little something spilled on your shoe and you’re as good as barred. But even in the land of the Long White Cloud, the wheels of progress grind ever forward. On the southern tip of the north island there is a rising quarrel between the Wellington International Airport and local surfers. With a runway extension in the planning stages, adjacent Lyall Bay may soon find itself in the oncoming path of an Airbus. For those short on New Zealand surf history, on March 7, 1915, a certain Duke Kahanamoku introduced wave shooting to a stunned Kiwi audience at Lyall Bay. “He stood right up on the board, while the latter shot along at a great speed,” reads an account from The Evening Post. “By careful steering he prolonged the shoot for a distance of 150 to 200 yards.” We should all hope to prolong the shoot. Needless to say, Lyall Bay is the official birthplace of New Read More …

REBLOG SURFBREAK PROTECTION SOCIETY: Lyall Bay surf breaks at “substantial risk” from runway extension plan

The Surfbreak Protection Society (SPS) is very concerned that Wellington International Airport Ltd is attempting to railroad through its runway extension by way of the Environment Court, seeing it has not yet yall Bay made convincing arguments through articulated scientific-based debate. In March, SPS questioned the sincerity of WIAL’s proposed mitigation of a swell focussing reef, while at the same time the airport company were seeking the deletion of policies that protect surf breaks, by way of WIAL’s submission to the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Proposed Natural Resources Plan (PNRP). WIAL have yet again demonstrated their statement of intent, in pursuing the deletion of protection for the region’s surf breaks, and in particular, Lyall Bay’s revered Corner surf break in the PNRP, by way of a further submission to the plan. In plain words, WIAL are telling surfers that the company is obligated to protect Lyall Bay’s surfing amenity “overall”, yet on the other hand, are aggressively attacking the very legal obligations for them to do so, by seeking these policy changes. SPS, along with the Wellington Boardriders Club and other concerned local surfers, have been consulting with WIAL since May last year. WIAL submitted to the PNRP on 25 Read More …