Whakatāne District Council is arranging to have the sand fuse on the western side of the Whakatāne River mouth (at the tip of the Opihi spit) lowered, to comply with Bay of Plenty Regional Council flood preparedness requirements.

During heavy rainfall events, the river must be able to break through the fuse between the spit and Turuturu Roimata (Statue Rock), so that floodwaters can drain away faster, reducing the likelihood of upriver flooding. This means the sand build-up at the fuse needs to be reduced occasionally.

Contractors will be driving machinery from Ohuirehe Road eastwards along the beach to reach the spit from Thursday, 9 July. The works are expected to be completed in 2-3 days. People using the spit during the work period are asked to keep themselves, and animals in their care, to stay at least 50 metres away from any moving machinery.