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Wainui Beach: Death by a thousand cuts

Opinion Piece

I had a sense of deja-vu last Sunday watching the rock reinforcement works at Wainui beach. Well done council for responding quickly but one wonders how the “emergency” provisions of the RMA can be used when the beach front properties there have been in a coastal hazard zone since 1981 (the first in New Zealand).

The Wainui Beach Foredune Protection Scheme allows for only repairs to and replacement of the gabions. The hard part for the council will be to remove the rock above the level of the (former) gabions. Now that the so-called “emergency” is over this should happen very soon, but I’m not holding my breath. The track record of removing unauthorised rock from the beach is appalling. Rock scattered along the foredune between Cooper Street and the Stock Route by beachfront owners has been there since 1994! It has no value as foredune protection works and is an eyesore along the beach.

The council needs to up its game and enforce its own rules in the Wainui Beach Erosion Management Strategy. The non-removal of unauthorised rock from the foredune will lead to the death by a thousand cuts of one of New Zealand’s finest beaches.

Dave Peacock