Contractors will be undertaking urgent work on St Clair Beach
this morning, as sand below the sea wall has again reached
dangerously low levels.
The work aims to prevent a repeat of last year's event, when
several large sinkholes opened on the Esplanade - some large
enough to swallow park benches.
The sinkholes appeared in late May after the area was pounded
by heavy seas and high tides, which sucked sand from behind
the sea wall.
Dunedin City Council staff have been keeping a close eye on
sand levels since.
DCC roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring said Fulton
Hogan staff would remove the last section of the St Clair
Surf Life Saving Club's former access ramp at low tide this
The remaining section of the boat ramp appeared to have been
contributing to significant sand depletion around the seawall
in that area, he said.
The latest sand monitoring results showed levels had dropped
by up to 1.5m in specific areas over the past fortnight.
It appeared the sand, which helps protect the seawall, was
being stripped back by the prevailing high tides at this time
of year, he said.
''There is no indication that there is any further risk to
the sea wall at this point and it is expected that, as has
occurred in the past, the sand will return when the season
and currents change.
''While sand levels do come and go on the beach, they are now
at a level along the north end of the beach that requires
Mr Standring said an area of the beach would be cordoned off
at times to enable machinery to be brought on to the site
Barriers would also be installed on a section of the
promenade to ensure the safety of both contractors and the
He said it had always been the DCC's intention to remove the
remainder of the ramp, but the recent depletion of sand meant
it needed to occur now.
He emphasised the volatility of the marine environment and
the need to respond appropriately.