Work on Christchurch Harbour Entrance Sandspit

Mother Nature is going to be given a helping hand this summer to solve two local marine problems.

A lot of Avon Beach sand is currently forming a larger than usual sandbar off Christchurch Harbour entrance. Depending on tides and wind directions that material can slump into the narrow channel and boats are having a problem getting in and out of the Harbour.

Christchurch Borough Council Planning Committee has given consent for a scheme to solve both problems. Weather and tides permitting, extraction from the ebb-tide delta off the entrance to Christchurch Harbour will commence in April. The Council plans to recycle 20,000 cubic metres of beach material. This involves pumping sand and shingle ashore at Gundinore, which will then be transported to depleted beaches at Avon and Friars Cliff.

In the early part of the century the Mudeford sand spit extended beyond Steamer Point.  During a violent storm in 1910, the spit was breached and the channel then ran out to sea opposite Sandhills. This was followed by other serious breaches in 1924 and 1935, since when the Run at Christchurch Entrance has never been the same. 

The Run is a classic stretch of water, great if you understand it, but it can be daunting to novice boaters. The good news is that warnings about the Run and local hazards in various marine guide books do tend to limit the number of boating visitors to the Harbour. Our powerboat training courses always include ‘local knowledge’. If you sail, paddle or powerboat in local waters you need a good understanding of tides and anyone with a larger boat needs to be prepared to get up early some days to have sufficient water to navigate Christchurch waters.

John Haynes

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