$580k to reinstate St Clair coastal defences

The remnants of the sand sausages at St Clair Beach, Dunedin, which were fully exposed by last June’s storms. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The remnants of the sand sausages at St Clair Beach, Dunedin, which were fully exposed by last June’s storms. Photo by Linda Robertson.

The Dunedin City Council will spend $580,000 shoring up the St Clair sea wall and sand dunes before this winter.

A memo to the council from environmental and engineering consultancy firm Tonkin + Taylor in December revealed the extent of the cost to repair sand sausages and Reno mattresses at the deteriorating beach.

The sausages were estimated to cost $460,000 and the mattresses $120,000.

The council intended to complete the work by mid-June.

The issue was raised by Dunedin resident Lyndon Weggery at Tuesday's council community and environment committee meeting. He told committee members he was concerned about the lack of updates and information about the repairs.

Mr Weggery was concerned another storm, such as last year's June floods, could further damage the coastal protections before they were repaired and replaced.

Council reserves and recreation planning team leader Richard Saunders said yesterday the council believed the work would be completed by mid-June. It would get a more accurate assessment at the end of this month of the cost to complete the work.

‘‘What we are looking at is replacing what was there originally, but also extending it a small amount down the beach,'' he said.

‘‘We are committed to the work at St Clair and the remainder of the work we will focus on once we are happy we have got the priority works in hand.''

He would not comment on whether the final costs were likely to be higher than the estimates.

‘‘I don't know at this stage,'' he said.

‘‘All I can say is it's being managed with the council's overall budget.''

An additional $100,000 was set aside in the coming year's annual plan to allow the council to investigate a long-term measure to protect St Clair and Middle Beaches.

The council would vote on that measure today.

In 2011, the council commissioned a report by Tonkin + Taylor to look at options for managing coastal erosion. The options would be investigated as part of the coming financial year's work, Mr Saunders said.

An apron of Reno, or steel mesh, and rock mattresses was installed at Middle Beach in the weeks after heavy storms in 2007.

Both the sand sausages and the mattresses were fully exposed by last June's storms, which caused considerable damage to the protective measures.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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