A week after the carcass of an 18-tonne humpback whale was buried on a northern NSW beach, a team of contractors will use an excavator, chainsaws and skip bins to help remove it.
The 12-metre whale died after being beached on Sunday and its carcass was buried at Nobbys Beach in Port Macquarie on Monday because it was too big to be moved.
Since then, it has attracted at least 21 great white shark movements.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has now decided to shift the carcass, using cranes, skip bins and potentially chainsaws after community concerns over heightened shark activity during summer.
“Our aim is to get the whale off the beach in the most efficient and safe manner,” council general manager Craig Swift-McNair said on Friday.
“We know this will be hard and smelly work and I thank those contractors and staff who have agreed to assist.”
An excavator will start digging up the mammal along with the contaminated clay and sand on Monday.
If needed, chainsaws will break up the whale carcass before it is loaded into skip bins, with a 220-tonne crane helping in the removal to a nearby tip.
It’s unknown what will happen to the whale once it reaches landfill, but a decision is expected to be made on Monday.
The state government is coughing up $50,000 to exhume the animal’s remains.
“As the school holidays approach and the predictable weather, I want everybody, visitors and locals alike to be safe,” Port Macquarie Nationals MP Leslie Williams told state parliament on Thursday.
Port Macquarie local Anthony Wilson started a petition to get the council to remove the buried whale and said the result was fantastic.
“This is fantastic for the Port Macquarie community and our visitors alike as is the reopening of beaches this weekend,” he said.
“It is heartening to hear that the situation will be closely monitored in the short term and in the coming weeks.”
Port Macquarie beaches were closed during the week as a result of the decomposing whale, but will reopen on Saturday.
A NSW shark expert has indicated shark activity has returned to normal levels.