TODAY |

'We can't carry on like this' – Tolaga Bay residents live in fear of logging slash washing through their properties

Bruce Lemont's property is a mess with logging leftovers or “slash” littering his paddocks and damaging his fences.

His farm in Tolaga Bay borders a forestry site and the surrounding hills are covered in more of the dangerous logging leftovers.

He says it’s quite concerning that it could come down in another big downpour.

“Where our house is, is quite safe but I'd definitely like to see it cleaned up.”

The debris was washed off the hills in the recent storms, trashing the landscape downstream.

Tolaga Bay farmer Bruce Jefferd told 1 NEWS the rainfall wasn’t as major as he has seen in the past.

“We get this every eight to 10 years and if we are to expect this kind of damage we can't carry on like this,” he said. 

He wants to see the forestry industry front up the money to pay for the clean-up.

“They've said they're gonna help farmers but what we want to see going forward is a real commitment to some change of the harvesting to stop this slash coming down the river.”

Locals turned out in force at a public meeting with Gisborne District Council and forestry representatives last night, which 1 NEWS was not allowed to film.

There were plenty of questions and many wanted assurances that this sort of event wouldn’t happen again.

Nedine Thatcher Swan, the Gisborne District Council’s chief executive wasn’t able to give that commitment.

“We cannot actually guarantee that this won't happen again, so what we're doing is where we can making sure immediate actions can be addressed.”

Logging companies say they've donated resources for the clean-up and are losing money, waiting for roads to be repaired.

Kim Holland from the Eastland Wood Council, which represents forestry on the East Coast, says “slash” is an issue for the entire industry.

“We're doing everything we can to improve our practices and follow resource consents to protect the environment.”

The council is still investigating but says that won’t be completed for at least three months.

The region is still in recovery mode from storms, and at a public meeting, residents expressed concerns it could happen again. Source: 1 NEWS