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Submissions on application for sand extraction on Pakiri Beach close 10 Dec

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Tamaki Makaurau - Auckland Conservation Board is advising members of the public who oppose two Resource Consent Applications to extract sand from coastal areas off Pakiri Beach that they have until 10 December 2021 to send their submissions to Auckland Council.

The applicant has applied for resource consents for two sand extraction options:

"mid-shore" sand extraction from an area of 6.6km2, for up to a 35-year period.

"in-shore" sand extraction from an area of 2.57km2, for up to a 35-year period.

Nicola MacDonald, Chair of the Tamaki Makaurau - Auckland Conservation Board says the Board has significant concerns about the potential conservation impacts on the coastal environment of Pakiri Beach, and the threat further extraction will have on shorebirds and marine mammals in the area.

Ms MacDonald says that it was a priority of the Board to advocate for the protection of Auckland’s marine and freshwater habitats, as well as threatened species.

"Many of our indigenous species are currently threated with, or are at risk of, extinction - this includes around 90% of seabirds and 74% of terrestrial birds. The shoreline in the extraction area is an important nesting area for native shorebirds, including variable oystercatcher, but of greater significance is the New Zealand fairy tern (tara iti) which is our rarest breeding bird."

The Board also states that it does not believe the applicant has adequately addressed the potential for alternative sources of sand.

"Manufactured alternatives to sand mining are readily available, and manufactured sand is used widely in other countries for concrete production and plays a key part in protecting coastal ecosystems. Recycled crushed glass is already being used in applications in New Zealand as an alternative to dredging sand.

"Internationally there is widespread concern about the environmental impacts of sand extraction from the coastal environment with beach mining being stopped, and as a Board we feel that these concerns are where there is a high degree of uncertainty of the environment effects, versus some considerable environmental and conservation values," says Ms MacDonald.

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