Dead whale to be exhumed from Nobby's Beach, Port Macquarie

Removal: The dead whale could not be dragged back to sea so council made a decision to bury the carcass. It will now be exhumed after community pressure.

Removal: The dead whale could not be dragged back to sea so council made a decision to bury the carcass. It will now be exhumed after community pressure.

An operation to remove the whale carcass from Nobbys Beach will commence on Monday, September 25.

In response to community concerns, the 20 tonne whale carcass and contaminated clay and sand will be removed from the beach and trucked to landfill in a council-managed operation, working with local contractors.

The decision to exhume the whale comes after community debate raged over the disposal method chosen by council after the whale died on Monday, September 18.

A delegation was taken to the council meeting on Wednesday where a petition with thousands of signatures was presented.

This prompted Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams to consult with Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair and Minister for Lands, Paul Toole and deliver $50,000 in funding for council to carry out the exhumation.

Council has consulted with local community representatives, NSW Department of Industry, Lands and Forestry, NSW Police, the Environment Protection Agency and NSW Fire and Rescue for Monday’s operation.

“This is going to be a challenging job but council recognises it is a high priority for many in our community. We will commence work first thing Monday.

“There are a number of unknowns that will affect the timing of the operation but we expect it will take more than one day to complete,” said council general manager, Craig Swift-McNair.

The operation will involve use of heavy equipment and potentially chainsaws on the beach to break up the whale carcass and load it into lined skip bins. The bins will be lifted off the beach by a 220 tonne crane and trucked to the Cairncross Waste Management Facility.

Detailed plans to ensure a safe worksite are currently being finalised. This includes crane set-up, construction of an access point at the southern end of the beach for backhoe, excavator and positrack machinery, and handling of large skip bins.

The operation will take place above the high tide mark and additional measures will be taken to ensure the containment of waste away from the water.

“Our aim is to get the whale off the beach in the most efficient and safe manner. We know this will be hard and smelly work and I thank those contractors and staff who have agreed to assist,” Mr Swift-McNair said.

Nobby's Beach will remain closed for the duration of the operation on Monday.

Nobby's Beach will remain closed for the duration of the operation on Monday.

“We look forward to re-opening the beach for the enjoyment of recreation users as soon as possible.”

There will be traffic measures in place for the safety of the public, including a Pacific Drive road closure, near Nobbys Beach (Swift St to Leanda St) from approximately 5.30am until the operation is completed.

Council encourages the community to consider alternate routes where possible.

In addition, noting the crane operations at the top of the cliff near the corner of Pacific Drive and Swift St, for safety reasons, no members of the public or media will be allowed near the work site.

Nobbys Beach, Kenny Drive and the entirety of Kenny Walk will be completely closed to access from Sunday evening for the duration.

Council asks all members of the public to please refrain from going anywhere near the site – this includes the use of drones.

Nearby residents will also be contacted via letter.

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