Les and his wife Dorothy have lived in the suburb Southshore, on the Spit, adjacent to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary since 2009. Les was a prominent contributor to the Combined Estuary Association’s successful challenge to the Christchurch City Council’s plan to continue discharging treated sewage wastewater in to the estuary (process commenced c.1995).
He was a co editor of the publication: In defence of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, 2002, a collated collection of written evidence re: the Estuary Discharge Hearings, provided by members of the CEA and associates.
He was also a participant in the considerations and discussions that led to the City Council’s decision to construct the ocean outfall pipeline. The pipeline commenced operating officially on 24 March 2010.
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A recommendation implemented by the Christchurch Drainage Board in consequence of the report titled “The Ecology of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, “ 1973, was to release the ‘slug’ of residual effluent, (after processing at the treatment station) in to the estuary, over one six hour period each day timed to coincide with the turn of the full tide. There was considerable evidence thereafter of declining fish population. Les describes what was observed.
Both Les and his wife Dorothy have been volunteer collectors in a major water sampling project for the estuary and its catchment. The aim being to have clean, clear waterways, safe for boating and swimming, and ultimately also for the collecting and eating of seafood, mahinga kai. This result would realise all wishes the couple have for the city’s precious water assets: the estuary and its major tributaries.