Cycle paths, footpaths and wider roads are making life
easier for peninsula residents, but are these projects coming
at the expense of birdlife and important fish species? Dan
Hutchinson takes a look.
Save The Otago Peninsula spokeswoman Lala Frazer inspects
culverts at Macandrew Bay, beside recent cycleway widening
work. She says many drainage channels are placed higher
than this one, making it very hard or impossible for fish
to return upstream to spawn. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
Save The Otago Peninsula (Stop) is worried wildlife could be
affected by road-widening and safety improvements.
The $27 million Portobello Rd and Harington Point Rd
Improvements project aims to improve safety for motorists,
pedestrians and cyclists between Vauxhall and Harington
Stop spokeswoman Lala Frazer said extending the road into the
harbour would destroy another 7ha of intertidal zones along a
She believed more should be done to ensure fish could migrate
up streams to spawn because drainage pipes under the road
would, in some areas, make that difficult or impossible.
Council Transport Group project engineer Evan Matheson said
they would be aiming to ''mimic'' the ecological conditions
that already existed.
Detailed design work would involve further consultation with
organisations such as Fish and Game to ensure they were using
the best techniques. He said the commissioners were also
likely to specify strict environmental conditions on the
An assessment of environmental effects commissioned by the
council stated there would be little lasting damage to the
ecology of the area.
Otago Regional Council-appointed commissioners are due to
release their decision on the 10 resource consents the city
council had applied for in about a week.
Dr Ryder said care would need to be taken to avoid zostera
seagrass beds, which were not common and provided nursery
grounds for a wide variety of intertidal invertebrates and
fish and feeding areas for birds and fish.
Dr Ryder summarised his concerns into three main areas: loss
of intertidal habitat that is considered significant because
it is scarce within Otago Harbour; complete loss of
intertidal zone due to the narrowness of the existing
intertidal zone; and loss of ecologically significant
However, he said other reclamation work had had a
''negligible'' effect on the ecology. It was ''unlikely that
there will be lasting adverse ecological effects from the
proposed widening along the Portobello and Harington Point
Peninsula Community Board chairwoman Christine Garey said the
the road widening ''has to go ahead''.
''We cannot achieve the safety benefits any other way. It is
about what we do to mitigate any environmental effects.''