Thousands of logs piled high on Tolaga Bay Beach will be burned before Christmas, says Ūawanui chairperson Victor Walker.

He said the logs will be taken to burning pits which will have air blasted into them to ensure they're incinerated with minimal smoke.

"The incineration will go night and day," he said.

"We will ensure that there is a safety plan in place before it starts - communication will go out to the community and say, 'This is what is happening and be careful out there'.


"We are hoping that by this side of Christmas we will have a fairly clear beach."

Heavy rain washed the forestry slash down from surrounding hills in June, the remnants of logging operations in the Ūawa River catchment, destroying homes on their journey downstream.

The Gisborne District Council has served logging companies with abatement notice, many of which have been appealed.

However, local iwi say the logging industry has been proactive in finding solutions to the log-jammed beach.

Walker said the logging industry was footing the cost of the beach clean-up.

"Up in the back country from where this stuff came from – there are still crows' nests that could come down in the next rain, so we haven't just been working on the solution here," Walker said.

"If we can turn adversity into opportunity through a massive collective effort - and really truthful, thoughtful collaboration - then I hope this is the only interview that I'll be doing for you on this beach from here on into the future."

Action points for a slash-free future for Tolaga Bay will be discussed at a community meeting this week.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon thanked the community for their patience.


"I know it is a great anxiety because summer is coming up and beaches are a valued asset for our community," Mayor Foon said.

"There will be lots of visitors coming so hopefully the burning operation will go smoothly and we ask for their patience."

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