Whakatāne District Council is arranging to have the sand fuse on the western side of the Whakatāne River mouth (at the tip of the Opihi spit) lowered, to comply with Bay of Plenty Regional Council flood preparedness requirements.

During heavy rainfall events, the river must be able to break through the fuse between the spit and Turuturu Roimata (Statue Rock), so that floodwaters can drain away faster, reducing the likelihood of upriver flooding. The sand build-up at the fuse therefore needs to be reduced from time to time.

Contractors will be driving machinery from Ohuirehe Road eastwards along the beach to reach the spit on Monday 15 April. The works are expected to be completed in 2-3 days. Anyone using the spit during the work period is asked to stay at least 30 metres away from any moving machinery.