Community meeting on Wainui erosion control

Opportunity for residents to learn more about what has caused longstanding local conflict.

Opportunity for residents to learn more about what has caused longstanding local conflict.

EMERGENCY WORKS: These rocks with gabion baskets beneath were placed in front of 21 Wairere Road, Wainui Beach, as part of emergency works to prevent erosion last winter. Gisborne District Council has applied for a retrospective resource consent for the work, but will need to remove the rocks because they were deemed not to fit in with the Wainui Beach erosion management strategy. Picture by Paul Rickard

A COMMUNITY meeting on Sunday will be an opportunity to learn about coastal protection work planned along Wainui Beach.

Gisborne District Council has lodged resource consent applications for three projects involving a mixture of "soft" and "hard" engineering as part of the Wainui Beach erosion management strategy.

The largest proposed project is replacing a 40-metre rock revetment wall at the southern end of the beach near Tuahine Crescent.

GDC’s rivers, coastal and drainage manager Neil Daykin said the cost of that project would depend on what the community decided was necessary.

It could cost between $250,000 and $450,000, with the higher cost based on a 50-year lifespan, taking into account a 0.45 metre sea level rise.

Another hard engineering project involves a retrospective consent for emergency work done during winter last year after a period of erosion led to a private wall collapsing at Wairere Road.

Emergency work to replace the 15m wall cost $28,840. Because of the haste involved in the work, it was not subject to full structural design and no consideration was made of the fit with the beach management strategy.

Engineers have indicated the rocks piled behind the wall would need to be removed to gain consent, while the gabion baskets would be able to remain.

Mr Daykin said while the wall needed to be changed, the emergency work was not a waste as it prevented more erosion occurring and gave staff more time to work out a longer-term solution to fit the erosion management strategy.

Suitable rock removed would be reused at the new revetment wall.

Soft engineering techniques

On the rest of the beach towards Okitu, erosion control work would involve soft engineering techniques known as beach push-ups, with diggers pushing sand up above the high tide mark.

Mr Daykin said the work would be a trial. While done in sheltered areas like the Coromandel, it had not been done in places as exposed as Wainui Beach.

They would do it only in areas on the beach where it was applicable and where sand would not naturally wash away.

Mr Daykin said the Sunday meeting would give residents an opportunity to ask questions about these proposed projects.

“It is an informal meeting where the community can drop in any time to ask questions. I and other staff will be there with information about the proposals.”

There were likely to be differing views based on the protection of private property versus protecting the community beach asset.

“There are different views from beach users, surfers, property owners, all with different concerns from dune care to climate change and sea level rise, and those not keen on hard engineering structures.”

Wainui Beach is a protected surf break of national significance.

It is regarded as one of the country’s best beach breaks due to the unique formation of sandbanks that help transform ocean swells into excellent waves, often producing hollow waves known as barrels.

The consulting engineers had taken into account the potential impact of the work on the formation of sandbanks and decided there would be no negative effects.

“This meeting is a chance to have a clear and transparent process about what we have sought consent to do,” Mr Daykin said.

The meeting will be at Wainui Surf Club on Sunday, from 11am to 1pm.

It is open to anybody to drop in any time to ask questions and discuss the proposed works and maintenance of structures in the coastal marine area, and within private property.

More information about the resource consent applications can be found on the council’s website.

A COMMUNITY meeting on Sunday will be an opportunity to learn about coastal protection work planned along Wainui Beach.

Gisborne District Council has lodged resource consent applications for three projects involving a mixture of "soft" and "hard" engineering as part of the Wainui Beach erosion management strategy.

The largest proposed project is replacing a 40-metre rock revetment wall at the southern end of the beach near Tuahine Crescent.

GDC’s rivers, coastal and drainage manager Neil Daykin said the cost of that project would depend on what the community decided was necessary.

It could cost between $250,000 and $450,000, with the higher cost based on a 50-year lifespan, taking into account a 0.45 metre sea level rise.

Another hard engineering project involves a retrospective consent for emergency work done during winter last year after a period of erosion led to a private wall collapsing at Wairere Road.

Emergency work to replace the 15m wall cost $28,840. Because of the haste involved in the work, it was not subject to full structural design and no consideration was made of the fit with the beach management strategy.

Engineers have indicated the rocks piled behind the wall would need to be removed to gain consent, while the gabion baskets would be able to remain.

Mr Daykin said while the wall needed to be changed, the emergency work was not a waste as it prevented more erosion occurring and gave staff more time to work out a longer-term solution to fit the erosion management strategy.

Suitable rock removed would be reused at the new revetment wall.

Soft engineering techniques

On the rest of the beach towards Okitu, erosion control work would involve soft engineering techniques known as beach push-ups, with diggers pushing sand up above the high tide mark.

Mr Daykin said the work would be a trial. While done in sheltered areas like the Coromandel, it had not been done in places as exposed as Wainui Beach.

They would do it only in areas on the beach where it was applicable and where sand would not naturally wash away.

Mr Daykin said the Sunday meeting would give residents an opportunity to ask questions about these proposed projects.

“It is an informal meeting where the community can drop in any time to ask questions. I and other staff will be there with information about the proposals.”

There were likely to be differing views based on the protection of private property versus protecting the community beach asset.

“There are different views from beach users, surfers, property owners, all with different concerns from dune care to climate change and sea level rise, and those not keen on hard engineering structures.”

Wainui Beach is a protected surf break of national significance.

It is regarded as one of the country’s best beach breaks due to the unique formation of sandbanks that help transform ocean swells into excellent waves, often producing hollow waves known as barrels.

The consulting engineers had taken into account the potential impact of the work on the formation of sandbanks and decided there would be no negative effects.

“This meeting is a chance to have a clear and transparent process about what we have sought consent to do,” Mr Daykin said.

The meeting will be at Wainui Surf Club on Sunday, from 11am to 1pm.

It is open to anybody to drop in any time to ask questions and discuss the proposed works and maintenance of structures in the coastal marine area, and within private property.

More information about the resource consent applications can be found on the council’s website.

Focus on 'soft engineering'

The beach management strategy implementation was funded by the 113 beach properties at Wainui, regardless of who benefits from specific works.

The issue is one of longstanding conflict in the Wainui community, with multiple trips to the Environment Court and, before that, the Planning Tribunal.

This was largely because of the conflict between protection of private property versus protecting the community asset (the beach).

In light of that, and through community consultation, a focus on softer engineering approaches (sand push-ups) and replacement of only a small number of structures was included in the strategy.

But there are two locations on the beach — the Hamanatua Stream and Tuahine Point — where a harder engineering process is needed.

You can access the strategy on the council’s website.

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