The new hole that has appeared in the Esplanade at St
Clair. Photo Stephen jaquiery
The Esplanade at St Clair is washing into the sea again,
despite almost $700,000 of work to protect it.
A new hole in the Esplanade opened up last night, beside the
area where the surf club ramp was, after a week of big tides.
The Dunedin City Council has spent $680,000 in the past year
fixing the Esplanade and trying to keep sand in front of the
St Clair sea wall after it was undermined during a series of
king tides in May last year.
The big tides at that time sucked sand away from the beach,
exposing the bottom of the wall and allowing the fill behind
it to be sucked out too.
Council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring, who
inspected the new hole last night, said the council was
notified about it about 5pm yesterday. The eastern end of the
Esplanade has been cordoned off.
He said that as part of an interim risk management plan, in
place while a longer-term solution was worked out, the wall
was inspected visually each week and the sand levels checked
fortnightly. The most recent check, last week, showed 2m of
sand at the foot of the wall.
The king tides, related to the recent ''super moon'', were
expected to continue for another few days.
It was unclear what, if any, emergency work could be done in
the meantime to try to stop more slumping until the wall and
beach could be inspected at low tide today, he said.
Tonnes of rocks have been dumped in front of the wall. The
ramp used by the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club, around which
much of the erosion has happened, has been moved in an
attempt to keep sand in the area.
In May, the council voted to spend $95,000 on the interim
risk management plan, which included the possibility of
spending another $160,000 to $255,000 (set aside at present
for footpath renewal) should any of the identified risks come
to pass before longer-term options for keeping sand on the
beach can be considered at next year's long-term plan
After visiting the Esplanade last night to see the hole,
council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said the council
always knew what it had done was a temporary fix and there
was a risk of more slumping.
Asked whether the council would now have to bring forward
discussions on long-term fixes, she said that would be have
to be discussed over the next few days.
Working out a long-term solution was a complex matter and the
wall would be fixed while that was done.
''It's not good. Clearly, it's not what anyone of us want.
And that longer-term solution is what all of us are looking