Volunteers and Wellington City Council have picked up hundreds of nails left on Princess Bay Beach after Arise Church bonfire nights.
Concerned resident Kate Hurley wrote to The Wellingtonian after the council and residents had to clean up the beach for the second time this year. She said the church members were burning wooden pallets full of nails.
"The result is that these nails are then left on the beach with the charcoal debris," she said.
"A few weeks ago, a group of volunteers spent more than two hours picking up hundreds of nails that had been left on the beach, and a council worker cleaned up yet another mess of nails from [another] bonfire."
Ms Hurley said she was concerned about the safety issues the nails caused to beach-goers and the wildlife in the Taputeranga Marine Reserve.
Arise Church Wellington campus manager Jessica Fowler said the church had a permit for the fires, but said she was horrified to learn of the mess that had been left behind.
"We were shocked to hear that this was the outcome of the bonfires, and straight away changed the way these were done to ensure it would not happen again," she said.
"Since that time, no wooden pallets have been used for bonfires, which is what had previously left nails behind.
"We have a permit from the council to have bonfires, and have not had any complaints from them.
"We also included the council in our apology when replying to the member of the community who informed us of the nails."
Mrs Fowler said the bonfires were an opportunity for young people to have fun.
"A lot of these are university students who are new to the city and who don't know many people," she said.
"We love being able to provide a place for them to make friends and help them settle into Wellington with positive influences around them."
Council spokesman Clayton Anderson said the council's litter crew was called to clean up Princess Bay Beach after a recent bonfire.
"According to the call we had about it, it may have happened a couple of times. We have also forwarded this to our regional fire officer," he said.
Mr Anderson said that all open fires required a permit and Houghton Bay and Princess Bay beaches were the only beaches where fires were permitted.
"However at the moment, being summer, we would not be issuing any permits for these areas."
LIGHTING AN OUTDOOR FIRE
You need a permit for any open fire, including hangi, non-gas barbecues, charcoal barbecues when using paper and wood, braziers, camp fires, chimeneas, cooking fires, rubbish fires and incinerators.
Wellington City Council's outdoor fire tips: Get a permit in advance.
Light fires in a clear area.
Do not light fires in strong winds.
Supervise the fire at all times.
Always have a water supply for fire-fighting handy.
Use a sturdy metal container with good ventilation.
Use a fine mesh guard over the container to prevent burning debris and embers from escaping.
Burn only dry plants, leaves and branches, wood, paper and cardboard.
- The Wellingtonian