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Eastern Bay mayors urge community to work together

Saturday, 15 October 2011 10:00 a.m.

Winds have pushed oil from the stricken ship MV Rena extending the area of the oil spill response out to the east. It is expected that oil will arrive on Eastern Bay of Plenty beaches as a result.
Whakatāne District Council's Mayor Tony Bonne and Ōpōtiki District Council's Mayor John Forbes are urging the community work together if and when oil arrives on Eastern Bay of Plenty beaches.
Mayor John Forbes said he was confident the community would rally to support any clean-up effort needed.
"Our coastal waters are extremely important to the Eastern Bay and we place great value on their cultural, recreational and commercial qualities.
"We have a community that is passionate about its natural environment and I know that passion can be directed to help clean up our beaches.
"It's also important that people keep vehicles off beaches as that would make oil recovery a lot harder ," Mayor Forbes said.
Mayor Tony Bonne said it was important that the community takes the lead from Maritime NZ on the beach clean-up.
"I encourage people to work through the appropriate channels and not to handle any oil without correct training and the right protective gear supplied by Maritime NZ.
"We want to assist clean-up efforts rather than hamper them, so it's key that people keen to help clean up our beaches register for the volunteer effort online or through the dedicated toll free number 0800 OIL SPILL," Mayor Bonne said.
Maritime NZ is now coordinating a team of more than 1000 people involved in operations on land, sea and air and covering areas like field operations, planning, logistics, wildlife recovery and community and iwi liaison.
A dedicated iwi support line has also been set up with the toll free number 0800 AWHI ME (294 463).
More than 4200 people have registered through the new website set up yesterday This equates to about 200 people registering per hour.
Volunteer coordinators at the Tauranga-based incident command centre are working through a plan to roster these volunteers so their assistance can be used effectively.
Today there are two supervisor training sessions planned in Ōhope and Matatā today.