Project begun for river bar CCTV

The boat that 
The boat that capsized trying to traverse the Taieri Mouth bar in September. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A project to install a CCTV camera at the Taieri River mouth to give boaties a better view of the bar and make crossing it safer is under way.

It will allow boaties to view, either on mobiles, laptop, or at a kiosk at the boat ramp, a live image of the bar which is notorious for moving.

The idea was conceived by Dunedin city councillor Jules Radich, who said it would help recreational and commercial boaties make an informed decision and reduce the high accident rate at the bar.

"It would be the best single thing to improve safety on the bar."

Support for the idea grew in the community during a second Taieri River Mouth Safety Evening meeting, at Brighton Surf Life Saving Club, on Monday.

The first meeting was held last month after incidents in which boats capsized at the bar. About 200 people attended the two meetings.

Mr Radich said the camera, to be installed at a site with a high vantage point, would not only capture real time footage of the bar, but also what it had looked like at low tide for the past week.

He had assessed two suitable sites for the camera and spoken to the two relevant landowners.

Dunedin police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Nathan White, who is part of a working group for the project, agreed the camera would be a useful preventive measure.

"It’s primary function is to see where the bar is, whether it is going out to the north, south, or in the middle, because it changes quite a lot."

It would also make it easier to identify where the deeper channel was, and where the waves were breaking in shallow areas, he said.

The footage would be available on a web page, accessible on laptops and mobile phones.

Sgt White said the working group was also considering setting up a kiosk at the boat ramp with a few screens displaying the footage, as well as weather and other relevant information.

The camera would also aid in search and rescue operations, as it would be able to zoom and pan, he said.

The project is expected to cost $30,000.

A timeframe for its completion had not been decided, as it would depend on fundraising and a grant application, but Sgt White was confident its completion would not be too long given the level of community interest.


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