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Rocks could be removed if consent not granted

Rocks put in place to stop ocean erosion at Wainui Beach at the weekend may have to be removed if retrospective consent is not granted for the work, says Gisborne District Council lifelines manager David Wilson.

The council brought in contractors on Saturday morning after three properties along Pare Street at the southern end of the beach lost five-to-seven-metres of dune frontage to big seas and spring tides.

Emergency work was done over the weekend to secure the beachfront properties and stop a septic tank from falling into the ocean.

The works were completed under Section 330 of the Resource Management Act.

“An application for retrospective consent for the work will be lodged within 20 working days,” Mr Wilson said.

“Any erosion protection work must comply with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, the RMA, the Wainui Beach Management Strategy and the Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan.

“Residents have been informed that while rock was used as a temporary means of securing the houses and septic tank, there is a possibility it will need to come out again if retrospective consent is not granted.”

Mr Wilson said the council was working with its policy, regulatory and engineering staff, and the Wainui Beach community, on a solution.

“Planning has begun to find a permanent solution to beachfront erosion opposite Pare Street.”

GDC staff reassessed the properties, the protection works and remaining gabion baskets and determined the emergency work had secured the area and stopped further erosion.

“We’re continuing to monitor the affected properties and keep homeowners informed,” he said.

“To be clear, a managed retreat of the houses and septic system is still an option, but there will be further conversations at council before any steps are taken on a permanent fix.”

Gabion baskets were also destroyed in front of several other properties on Pare Street.

“But there is no immediate risk to property, people or the environment.”

Mr Wilson said the council was seeking advice on whether the gabion baskets could be repaired or replaced.

“We have made the call to not undertake further works unless absolutely necessary as we believe any further works at this stage would not meet the test for emergency works under the RMA.

“Should things change we will reassess our options,” Mr Wilson said.

Excess rock from the emergency work has been stockpiled at the end of Pare Street in case any further damage occurs.

“A full update, including a timeline of events and proposed next steps, will be provided to the council at a later date.”