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Beach Erosion

The second related issue arising from the 10 June storm came to Council in a late Paper from Sam Marshall - Whitianga Area Manager.

The damage at Buffolo, Brophy's and Cooks Beachs was extensive, and Sam took the opportunity to propose some major rectification and mitigation work at all three that supersedes the approvals for work already completed in 2013/14. I will not get involved here in the various and interminable arguments that have proceeded over the years regarding 'soft' (dune creation and planting), and 'hard' (walls, rock and geotextile bags) remediation. They are outlined in depth in the Paper.

Suffice to say that there was no support around the table whatsoever for any 'soft' option as may have been proposed by the local experts in the field - principally Jim Dahm. In fact, it could be said that there was a profound intolerance around the table for any suggestion of such an approach, let alone for the further suggestion of the 'let nature take its course' approach.

It was of course a wonderful opportunity for the real hard heads around the table to let fly - namely Fox and Goudie, and vie for the top Type A role.

First let us get the figures out of the way. Today's meeting decided (on Sam;'s recommendation) to allocate $991k to complete a rock wall at Buffolo Beach (120m) and Cook's Beach walls. In each case, the justification is to protect Council reserves (Purangi, and the Cook Memorial) The erosion in each case has been serious - well beyond anything previously experienced, and threatening roadways. Further dune work and planting beyond the walls is also planned.

a further $680k has been approved for Brophy's where the sea has encroached virtually over the entire reserve which brought forth heart-rending stories from round the table of carefree times as children. The wall is to be of the geotexile sand filled bag variety, and either inside or outside the currently partially exposed sewer pipe. A further $540k for a stage 2 wall here is proposed for 2015/16 which I don't think was approved today, but I had the feeling that they would have approved anything Sam suggested so long as it was 'hard as hell!'

I will deal with the questions of climate change, and where costs should lie in the next post.  




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Reader Comments (2)

It is a fool who builds his hard seawall on sand.

These Councillors are short term thinking populists with no regard for further generations. No vision or leadership.

June 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Well I guess Peter, that we can expect hundreds of metres of hard sea walls from this council?
I am inclined to the opinion that all the engineering in the world will not avoid the unpleasant consequences of climate change, nor of, in this case, the natural erosion of sea beach margins.
The power of nature is an unpleasant (or rather, inconvenient [ref Al Gore]) fact that sea beach bach owners will, inevitably, have to face up to. Thames rate-payers would be well advised to get stuck into their (Thames) elected representatives and insist on area of benefit rating for this sort of remediation works. Thames will have its own problems to deal with, so that we will have to draw deeply from our (local) bag of shekels.
I guess, in the end, every rate-payer will end up paying for works of this sort, so that it would be far more equitable for each community to finance its own particular requirements, irrespective of the burden that may impose of specific communities. If Whitianga wants gold plate solutions let them pay for them. Thames is a poorer community and cannot afford to pay any share of east coast costs, plus finance it's own, more modest, solutions.
If only our local representatives would act in our interests.

June 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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