Tolaga Bay locals fuming over forestry waste clogging favourite beach

The small community of Tolaga Bay is worried hundreds of tonnes of logging waste on its beaches will become a hazard.

The forestry offcuts were washed onto the beach during floods, causing damage the council has said could cost around $10 million to repair.

Locals want it gone, but it's a question of how to remove it - thick wooden offcuts, piled metres high and stretching well into the distance along the coastline of Tolaga Bay. It's a popular spot, spoiled by a big mess.

"At the moment it's a bit of an eyesore," says Tolaga Bay Holiday Park manager Dion Milne.

The offcuts, known as slash, separate the holiday park from the beach. Its managers are worried it will become a hot zone in the summer for all the wrong reasons.

"Is a bit of a worry," says Mr Milne. "If it's left how it is and it catches on fire I'm going to have to evacuate the holiday camp."

Almost three months ago the area was hit by two heavy downpours within just a matter of weeks. A family of three was rescued from the roof of their house as it was swallowed by rapidly rising floodwaters. The heavy rain washed hundreds of tonnes of slash down rivers, destroying farmland in its path.

Months later, the mess that was caused by just a few hours of rain is still there.

To burn this amount of wood is toxic. To transport it away is expensive. It's currently too wet to turn to turn to mulch, and there's the option of burying it, but that would mean digging up most of the beach.

"The fact it's still there and will be there for some time is still a little bit disappointing," says Viktor Walker of the Ūawanui Environmental Sustainability Project.

The Gisborne District Council says there's no quick or easy solution to the clean-up, and it's still determining the best way to dispose of wood on beaches and bridges, and how much it will cost.

It means a long wait for the small community on edge every time it rains.

"The whole community is on a heightened sense of alert every time we look and monitor the weather forecast and potential of rain," says Mr Walker.

The rain could add more to the great wall of Tolaga Bay, which is not the sort of tourism attraction they want.