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Ocean erosion threat at Wainui

Heavy swells on East Coast beaches and spring tides have combined to cause major erosion in front of several houses on the beach front at the Pare Street end of Wainui Beach.

The swells have washed away gabion baskets and the sand dune from in front of three beachfront properties at Pare Street.

“We’re concerned about the septic system for one of the properties being exposed and falling into the sea, and the potential for significant damage to properties,” said Gisborne District Council director of community lifelines David Wilson, this morning.

“Residents of the three properties are staying elsewhere.

“We are in contact with them and have kept them informed of the next steps,” he said.

“Council engineers and contractors have been on site to assess what options there are for emergency protection measures.

“Some more of the bank in front of the three properties gave way overnight, so we have made the decision this morning to undertake some emergency works under the Resource Management Act.

“Those will be temporary protection works to stop any further damage,” Mr Wilson said.

The work started this morning with Fulton Hogan on site.

“Tide permitting, we hope to get rock protection in place in front of the properties sometime today.”

Mr Wilson said the bank had eroded by two to three metres at this stage.

“While that is not a huge amount, it’s what further damage that might happen if we do nothing; that is our main concern.”

Further swells of three to four metres have been forecast over the weekend.

The council yesterday warned people in coastal areas they may need to secure or move any belongings close to the shore because of the big seas.

Eastland Port this morning put the log boat that had been alongside the wharf out into the bay because of the impending swells.

The vessel joined two others out in the Bay and they will ride out the swells at anchor.

“We expect the swells to stay up until Monday,” a port official said this morning.

“Hopefully by Monday we will be able to dock ships again for loading.”

The MetService issued a gale warning for the East Coast this morning. The forecast is for southwest winds 40 knots but 25 knots north of East Cape, easing to 25 knots everywhere late this afternoon and to 15 knots late this evening. Very rough seas in the south are forecast, but easing. A southwest swell rising to 5 metres in the south is forecast, and a northeast swell of 3 metres, easing.?

Dune erosion caused by big seas and spring tides has taken away two to three metres of three beachfront properties in Pare Street at the southern end of Wainui in the past 24 hours. Contractors began emergency protection works this morning and hope to get more rock in place today to reduce the risk of further damage. The council said the families in the homes have moved out in the meantime. Pictures by Paul Rickard
RISING SEAS: Soon after this photo was taken this morning Fulton Hogan pulled the digger to safety. A big swell and spring tides combined to erode two to three metres from three Pare St, Wainui, properties overnight. Emergency works are being undertaken to stop further damage.