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Bad reviews for reef firm

By Hayley Hannan

An Auckland Council-backed plan to build four submerged artificial reef systems off Orewa Beach is open for submissions. Photo / Sarah Ivey
An Auckland Council-backed plan to build four submerged artificial reef systems off Orewa Beach is open for submissions. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The company behind a proposed surf reef at Orewa has designed other artificial reefs that have been widely criticised.

An Auckland Council-backed plan to build four submerged artificial reef systems off Orewa Beach is open for submissions from tomorrow.

The reef is designed by Raglan company ASR, a coastal and marine consulting firm responsible for reefs at Opunake and Mt Maunganui.

It also designed one for the British resort of Bournemouth. All have been heavily criticised.

Orewa Beach Reef Charitable Trust chairman Zane Taylor said he had been working with ASR since 2002.

He said an artificial reef would protect Orewa's beach, enhance surf conditions and provide a home for marine life. The plan was to use sandbags to build a four-pod system, ranging from 375m to 700m offshore.

The last cost estimate was $1.8 million in 2006. Mr Taylor said he was working on a new estimate.

Public submissions open tomorrow for a month.

A hearing is expected in about two months.

Mr Taylor said the Bournemouth reef had won awards and attracted investors, but its performance has been described by the local council as "substandard".

The South Taranaki District Council contributed $1.5 million to the Opunake surf reef, but had nothing to show for it, said Mayor Ross Dunlop.

ASR media manager Chris Jensen was in California and could not be reached for comment last night.

- APNZ

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