REHOUSED: An osprey approaching her nest. Work was recently halted on the Wardell wharf reconstruction due to fears resident ospreys might be affected.
REHOUSED: An osprey approaching her nest. Work was recently halted on the Wardell wharf reconstruction due to fears resident ospreys might be affected.

Wardell Wharf okay for ospreys

PAT CARNEY has another reason to smile about his beloved home town of Wardell: A revamped wharf will welcome river-borne visitors and land-based tourists for many decades to come.

The president of the local Chamber of Commerce says the $403,470 project was a boon for the riverside village.

“We are pleased the council put the funds towards it,” he said.

The project is due for completion towards the end of this week - seven days under schedule, despite delays due to concerns that works would impact on nearby nesting ospreys.

The Roads and Traffic Authority initially alerted Ballina Shire Council that the wharf reconstruction could affect the birds, according to the council's engineering works manager Paul Busmanis.

The nesting birds were previously relocated from the highway bridge at Wardell to a purpose-built nesting pole, so the RTA could revamp the 1960s-era bridge.

Hunter Wharf and Barge, which won the contract to do the work, were less than thrilled with the idea of slowing their progress so the birds' antics could be monitored by consultants from Lismore-based Greenloaning Biostudies.

Hunter Wharf and Barge business owner Paul Geddes said the ospreys appeared to be handling the temporary interruption well, diving for fish and sitting on pilings during the wharf reconstruction.

“There are B-doubles travelling across the bridge 25 metres away making more noise,” he said. “The birds didn't seem to have a problem with that.”

As it turned out wildlife consultants came to the same conclusion and work continued.

Mr Geddes said useable timber from piles pulled out of the old wharf went to a bush furniture factory for recycling and new piles were driven to a depth of seven metres, four and a half metres deeper than previous poles.

“The new wharf is a bigger structure,” he said.



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