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Potential to create NZ-first surfing park

THE district’s richness in coastal beauty and sand dunes could create an environment for projects such as a surfing park at Makorori where there are two surfing breaks of national significance, says district councillor Dr Amber Dunn.

She was speaking at the environmental planning and regulations committee, which adopted a staff recommendation that a dune restoration action plan be considered alongside the coastal management review process for 2016/17.

The dunes were a key part of the coastal system, she said, and any coastal management plan would naturally incorporate preservation, protection and restoration.

The report recommending the action plan needed more context, she said. Without any real background information it was not possible to judge the urgency for restoration.

“Do we have any regionally and nationally significant coastal dunes? We sure do,” she said. "We are so rich in natural coastal beauty.”

The district was also extremely rich in undeveloped natural coastal dunes.

A Ministry for the Environment report said unmodified coastal environments, free from built elements, have the highest degree of national character and therefore the highest priority for protection.

There were many examples of those — Midway-Kopututea, Wherowhero Lagoon, northern Wainui, the whole of Wainui Beach, Makorori and Pouawa.

Plan should tell story of dunesThe coastal management plan should be able to tell the story of the district’s natural dunes and how rich this region was with that beauty. The council would then have a much clearer idea of preservation and restoration.

“There is a little bit more front work to come out of the coastal management plan review,” said Dr Dunn.

“It could lead, I hope, to such initiatives as the Makorori surfing park. New Zealand has no surfing parks. Given that we have a lot of firsts this could be another.”

In the meantime, while waiting for the review, the council could continue to support the Wainui group restoring dunes and any new groups who might come forward.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the report was really about the one group at Wainui who cared enough about their dunes so they could go and access the plants they needed. That was better than nothing.

Environmental and regulatory services group manager Kevin Strongman said there could be an action plan prepared for the interim rather than waiting for the whole review. It was a staged approach.

Strategic planning manager David Wilson said the coastal management plan would come into the strategic planning period. It was not just the dunes that had to be taken into account. Dune restoration work could be part of the natural hazards work programme. There was a wide scope that needed to go into that plan.

Dr Dunn said that if done properly and in the right order “we can create a plan that will avoid the need for dune restoration in the first place”.

Andy Cranston said there might be a unique situation on the town beaches and at Tolaga Bay because of the problem of slash on beaches.

The fact that the slash was going up on the dunes would make it very hard to establish dune care. When the review came out he wanted it to include the problem of slash.