Te Rauone residents (from left) Edna Stevenson, Jim Shanks, Graeme McLean, Bev Russell and Jan McLean are fed up with the lack of action over erosion. Photo by Eileen Goodwin.
A delegation of disgruntled Te Rauone residents attended the
Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting yesterday with a
message for the Dunedin City Council - stop the
procrastination and blame around fixing coastal erosion.
Flanked by about a dozen fellow residents, Edna Stevenson
said despite a provisional funding promise, the council
appeared to be continuing a pattern of stalling, and blaming
''This week's [newspaper] reports on funding for the
breakwater has yet again created stress and concerns for not
only the affected residents, but the wider community, who are
powerless to save a valued recreation asset owned by all
''It is more concerning when further up the harbour, council
has funded and continues to pay the maintenance for man-made
beaches, yet finds every excuse under the sun not to commit
to saving a natural beach.''
Using the argument of rising sea levels as a reason to do
nothing was merely an excuse for inaction, she said.
While she was encouraged by the council's conditional promise
of $50,000 towards the $180,000 project to create a rock
groyne to protect the reserve, and several private
properties, there remained much uncertainty. The money is
conditional on several factors, including a review of the
design of the breakwater.
In contrast, Mrs Stevenson said, Port Otago had accepted some
responsibility, and was contributing to a solution, as were
residents, she said, who were taking a share of the
responsibility and costs.
''The affected residents are happy to maintain their own
frontages, and are willing to form a partnership with council
to achieve a desirable outcome for all.''
Lack of communication was a major problem. Residents were
frustrated, but not, despite reports to the contrary, divided
over the issue. It was more a case of ''Chinese whispers''
leading to confusion, Mrs Stevenson said.
Resident Janine Karetai said the council must stop conflating
the erosion with the ''incomprehensible'' problem of climate
change, and instead work on a solution on the
Cr Jinty MacTavish promised communication with affected
residents would be improved.
Chairman John Bellamy said the community board had made the
extent of the problem very clear to the council, and he was
not sure what else it could do.
After the meeting, resident Graeme McLean told the Otago
Daily Times the council's conditional $50,000 offer was
''miserable''. Residents say that if the old harbour board
groynes had been maintained years ago, erosion would have
Residents estimate that over the past 60 years or so, about
150m had been lost from the worst-affected spot. Resident Jim
Shanks - whose own property is unaffected - said some
residents had been blamed for worsening the erosion with
measures they had taken to protect their properties, but they
had been given little choice but to try to do something.