Caring for the environment  |  9 Sep 2019

People who spot make-shift jetties and fishing platforms in Christchurch's rivers and streams are being urged to report them to Environment Canterbury.

The regional council is worried by the number of illegal structures being erected in local waterways this whitebating season.

Environment Canterbury’s Zone Delivery Manager Paul Hulse says that new structures are being constructed all the time.

“There are some quite significant structures in our waterways, installed in an attempt to reach whitebaiting nets further into the river. Some of them are nearly as substantial as a jetty or deck, while others are simply pellet rafts dug into the river bank,” he says.

“Recently, someone has even built a new concrete structure in Waimakariri’s Cam River, in a clear breach of the Land and Water Regional Plan.”

“These structures are illegal because they have a serious environmental impact. Aside from breaching Department of Conservation rules prohibiting fishing from a fixed structure, and being a public safety risk, they change the hydraulics of the river and cause bank destabilisation, flood risk, and sediment issues,” says Mr Hulse.

Late last summer, Environment Canterbury removed about 20 illegal structures from the Cam River alone. Mr Hulse says that this year, Environment Canterbury is adopting a wider focus.

“We have noticed an increasing number of structures being installed in rivers across our region. We’re also aware that in residential red zone areas, there are fewer people to notice new structures.

"Members of the public have an important role to play in protecting our natural resources, and we encourage anyone noticing these structures to call our 24-hour Environmental Incident Response Line on 0800 Pollute,” he says.

People can also use Snap, send solve app to report illegal structures.