Enabling works continue on Ōpōtiki’s Harbour construction site and the next stage of works will mean more action on seawall construction where the permanent rock walls will be built from the beach out to sea.

To enable the permanent works to proceed the western end of the eastern spit will be closed off to all pedestrian and vehicular access by means of fencing and a temporary rock groyne.

Harbour Project Director, John Galbraith, said it was great to see the project enter this next phase, but that the works would also mean more disruption for regular users of the beach and extra care would be needed in the area, particularly boaties and beach-goers.

“It is exciting for our contractors to be moving into this new stage, and it is good to see the progress we are making on this large-scale infrastructure. It is definitely worth celebrating this milestone. But I also want to take the opportunity to ask people to take extra care at the river mouth end of Hukuwai beach while this construction is going on.

“We have done a lot of work with the regional council and with DOC [Department of Conservation] to ensure that our work locations and timing doesn’t disturb important habitats or nesting sites,” Mr Galbraith said.

David Wyeth, HEB construction’s Project Manager for the Harbour construction said safety was paramount.

“There will be heavy machinery throughout the construction site so we ask that people keep their distance for their own safety and for safety of the workers on the site. We’ll have security fences up and signage to remind people that it is an active construction area and access to the beach in this area is only through the site.

“This will mostly impact people who fish close to the river mouth and means people may not be able to fish in their favourite spots while the seawalls are being constructed. If it is any consolation, when constructed, the seawalls are likely to have many more great spots along the whole length all the way 300m out to sea,” Mr Wyeth said.