Rocks removed from the kororā habitat in the seawall at Kennedy Point for marina piles to be installed are due back in place by the end of this week says Kennedy Point Marina director Kitt Littlejohn.
“Everyone knew we would come back for April,” Littlejohn told Gulf News.
A key part of a revised Kororā Construction Monitoring and Management Plan for the project was to hold off on work on the breakwater until 1 April this year, after kororā had finished moulting.
The revised plan was approved by Auckland Council early last September after the first plan was criticised by interest groups and penguin expert Professor John Cockrem for providing inadequate consideration of the impacts of work on the colony of kororā/little blue penguin resident in the Kennedy Point breakwater.
“We planned for the worst and hoped for the best,” Littlejohn said, referring to last year’s clashes between protesters and security at the site. In November the High Court issued orders prohibiting protesters from entering the construction area or getting closer than 20 metres from construction equipment, materials or marina components. These orders were revised by the court in February.
“There has been a few people coming and going but none of the so-called peaceful protest to disrupt work from last year,” Littlejohn says.
The developer’s consultant ecologist, Dr Leigh Bull, has been on site while work has been carried out within the kororā habitat, he says. Although, kororā had been heard within the area, Dr Bull has not yet had to handle a penguin, he says.
The marina developer was granted a Wildlife Act Permit which allows Dr Bull to catch and relocate kororā. The permit stipulates that work is not to be carried out within 20 metres of an active burrow. Forest and Bird has filed an application with the High Court for a judicial review of the Department of Conservation’s decision to grant the Wildlife Act Permit but this is not expected to be heard for several months. • Erin Johnson
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