WHAT NEXT FOR WAINUI?

‘Managed retreat’ long-term approach to erosion

‘Managed retreat’ long-term approach to erosion

It is suggested that long term, the Wainui community will need to prepare for a managed retreat approach to managing beach erosion. An informal meeting hosted by Gisborne District Council land, rivers and coastal manager Neil Daykin will be held from 5pm to 7pm at the Wainui School hall on Thursday.
PROTECT IT: Wainui beachfront residents want to protect their beautiful beach, but at same time want options from Gisborne District Council on how they can safeguard their properties from sea erosion. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE question of “where to next?” for Wainui beachfront properties threatened by sea erosion came up at the latest GDC assets and infrastructure committee meeting . . . and where the issue might end up provoked the comment — “In the sea!”

The committee was told that in the long term, a managed retreat approach to managing beach erosion was the only likely option.

Gisborne District Council land, rivers and coastal manager Neil Daykin presented an update on the Wainui Beach Erosion Management Strategy (WBEMS) in light of recent hearings decisions.

In one decision, a consent application to replace a failing rail, log and rock seawall at the Tuahine Crescent end of the beach was declined.

“The commissioner in the hearing ruled the application was inconsistent with the provisions of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS).

“The NZCPS discourages hard protection structures unless it is the only practical means to protect existing infrastructure of national or regional significance,” Mr Daykin said.

An application to carry out sand “push up” (beach scraping) work to build up the sand level on the beach was withdrawn.

“It was withdrawn by the council because of the uncertainty as to the effect of beach scraping on nearshore biology, and the substantial costs involved in achieving more certainty.

“It was also withdrawn because of the value of the surf breaks at Wainui, and uncertainty around how beach scraping would affect them,” he said.

Retrospective authorisation was given for a gabion basket structure erected as emergency works in August 2016, costing $28,000, seaward of a property in Wairere Road.

“The commissioner granted the consent for five years but loose rocks placed above the gabions have to be removed.”

The appeal period for the hearing decision expired on March 16.

'No appeals were received, so the decisions are now considered final'

“No appeals were received, so the decisions are now considered final.”

Mr Daykin said the decisions clearly demonstrated that hard engineering was not appropriate.

“It does not and will not meet the criteria to achieve resource consents.

“It is likely any future consent applications for beach erosion protection works will need to employ soft engineering methods.

“Long term, the Wainui community will need to prepare for a managed retreat approach to managing beach erosion.

“This logically leads the council to removing hard engineering from the Wainui Beach Erosion Management Strategy and preparing the community for managed retreat.”

Mr Daykin told the committee the gabion baskets and other hard infrastructure along the beach were all nearing the end of their life.

“There are no plans to replace those structures.”

Resource consent for the rock seawall south of the groyne at Tuahine Crescent expires in 2042.

“It is difficult to have any surety on whether that consent would be renewed.”

Mr Daykin said in light of the recent hearings decisions, there would be public consultation with the Wainui community.

“We will ask them what they want and/or expect from the beach management strategy, given these decisions, and the move to a managed retreat.”

Bill Burdett said the issue of what to do about beach erosion at Wainui had been around since he first became a councillor.

“Where’s it all going to end up?”

“In the sea!” was the comment from another councillor.

THE question of “where to next?” for Wainui beachfront properties threatened by sea erosion came up at the latest GDC assets and infrastructure committee meeting . . . and where the issue might end up provoked the comment — “In the sea!”

The committee was told that in the long term, a managed retreat approach to managing beach erosion was the only likely option.

Gisborne District Council land, rivers and coastal manager Neil Daykin presented an update on the Wainui Beach Erosion Management Strategy (WBEMS) in light of recent hearings decisions.

In one decision, a consent application to replace a failing rail, log and rock seawall at the Tuahine Crescent end of the beach was declined.

“The commissioner in the hearing ruled the application was inconsistent with the provisions of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS).

“The NZCPS discourages hard protection structures unless it is the only practical means to protect existing infrastructure of national or regional significance,” Mr Daykin said.

An application to carry out sand “push up” (beach scraping) work to build up the sand level on the beach was withdrawn.

“It was withdrawn by the council because of the uncertainty as to the effect of beach scraping on nearshore biology, and the substantial costs involved in achieving more certainty.

“It was also withdrawn because of the value of the surf breaks at Wainui, and uncertainty around how beach scraping would affect them,” he said.

Retrospective authorisation was given for a gabion basket structure erected as emergency works in August 2016, costing $28,000, seaward of a property in Wairere Road.

“The commissioner granted the consent for five years but loose rocks placed above the gabions have to be removed.”

The appeal period for the hearing decision expired on March 16.

'No appeals were received, so the decisions are now considered final'

“No appeals were received, so the decisions are now considered final.”

Mr Daykin said the decisions clearly demonstrated that hard engineering was not appropriate.

“It does not and will not meet the criteria to achieve resource consents.

“It is likely any future consent applications for beach erosion protection works will need to employ soft engineering methods.

“Long term, the Wainui community will need to prepare for a managed retreat approach to managing beach erosion.

“This logically leads the council to removing hard engineering from the Wainui Beach Erosion Management Strategy and preparing the community for managed retreat.”

Mr Daykin told the committee the gabion baskets and other hard infrastructure along the beach were all nearing the end of their life.

“There are no plans to replace those structures.”

Resource consent for the rock seawall south of the groyne at Tuahine Crescent expires in 2042.

“It is difficult to have any surety on whether that consent would be renewed.”

Mr Daykin said in light of the recent hearings decisions, there would be public consultation with the Wainui community.

“We will ask them what they want and/or expect from the beach management strategy, given these decisions, and the move to a managed retreat.”

Bill Burdett said the issue of what to do about beach erosion at Wainui had been around since he first became a councillor.

“Where’s it all going to end up?”

“In the sea!” was the comment from another councillor.

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Clive Bibby - 11 months ago
I am disappointed to read that council staff appear incapable of acknowledging the effectiveness of the soft-engineering "beach scraping" method for establishing low-cost, efficient, sustainable protection against beach erosion such as that experienced along the Wainui beaches.
Our community successfully employed this method along the full length of the northern Uawa/Tolaga Bay beaches over a decade ago with the help of a $6000 grant from - guess who - GDC, after the 50-year-old dunes were taken out virtually overnight during a spring storm, leaving an exposed sea wall over three metres high.
We employed a motor scraper to take sand from below the high water mark and spread it along the full length of the beach, in the process forming a sloping sand bank where the naked horizontal wall previously stood.
Finally, we employed a team of our young locals under the supervision of one of our finest kaumatua, Ray Dever, to plant the newly established dunes with maram grass.
This cheap but valuable work not only saved the beaches from any further erosion but has enabled the dunes to regrow back to almost their original height.
I believe that the excuse of the unknown effects on nearby beach biology is something of a red herring.
The evidence from up here tends to suggest that those concerns are, at best, exaggerated.
The flora and fauna on our patch are more than happy to call the Uawa foreshore home.
In the words of Mr Dilmah tea - "You should try it!"

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