'It's not good': New hole opens in Esplanade

The new hole that has appeared in the Esplanade at St Clair. Photo Stephen jaquiery
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 discussions.

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 forward to.''


The last time this happened

The last time this happened we had a public meeting in the Forbury Park rooms and heard that an Auckland based firm of consultants were being paid by DCC to address the problems. Local expertise to address the issue with a groyne offshore to deflect the waves(as a long-term solution) was politely ignored until a public resolution was passed to form a local residents group to formally advise the DCC.

Now I know that local surfers are totally against the groyne suggestion but they are a small number of ratepayers who are footing the very large bill. So what has happened to the local input? What has happened with taken local expertise seriously for a change? Why can't we bite the bullet and ask the surfers to relocate further down towards St Kilda if they are going to have a problem with any wave pattern caused by offshore barriers?I am putting my faith in CEO Sue Bidrose that she will take this matter in hand and direct her staff to really listen to the locals.[Abridged]


Why is it that there are promenades and sea walls all over the world that have stood for hundreds of years yet at St. Clair it is falling in after only a few decades.

I lived on a coast where all the sand washed away, revealing ancient artefacts and land marking of long lost civilisations, the strange thing is that the sea wall stood strong.

Cries from detractors claiming the tide will reclaim all are backed by an agenda rather than reason. Having said that though, half measures and patching up is throwing money away.

Never mind, "she'll be right."


Bow to the inevitable and put the money to better use.  It is like 1 million dollars simply running through the collective fingers of the taxpayers.

Please stop.

No money to fix it

Does anyone think if Council had the money they wouldn't be fixing the sea wall? The fact is that with a consolidadted debt of $650 million they are utterly broke. Selling off the Caledonian Bowling club for a paltry $1.5 million won't even touch the sides. If Dunedin rate payers don't get it by now they will do in the future as the DCC scramble to find enough money to service their ballooning debt. And where will that come from? Rate payers of course, strap yourself in as the rate hikes are going to get very ugly indeed.

Are we doing a King Canute?

Some may say what is the alternative? It is to move away from the coast. Maybe that would work for the businesses and occupiers of the buildings closest to the sea?

Let Mother Nature claim back her belongings

This is a never-ending battle. The sea will always claim back what was always its own, just like a bank will always get your money. It's time to stop spending our money and let Mother Nature claim back her belongings. After all, that is the only environmental answer that makes sense. Or are there people out there who will say this is all about environment warming? When in fact it was people who stole it from the sea to start with. It's all reclaimed land anyway. Or am I wrong in thinking we reclaimed this part of South Dunedin? I was not born here so I am not sure on that one. 

Just sort it

It was always going to happen. The council needs to spend some big money to fix Dunedin's main beach, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

It's a fanatastic beach that's been left as is for far too long. We should be developing and protecting it, and not leaving it to be savaged by the sea.

Protect our beach, as Dunedin people get more enjoyment from this than the museums that are given millions of dollars.

Stop wasting our money

I have said it before - stop wasting our money on this futile exercise in trying to beat a tide! How much more will this council keep throwing at and putting money in the pockets of those who are doing the work on trying tohold back an ocean. Look at costal erosion around the UK where entire acres of land and homes have been lost. This end for St Clair Esplanade was inevitable. Move on and accept no amount of money that poor old Dunedin has will fix this. Nearly a million dollars for a walkway! Who is allowing this to happen?


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