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The Dunedin City Council has agreed to work with the group proposing a rock groyne that could protect Te Rauone Beach from erosion, to ensure the application for a resource consent contains the best information possible.
The council is considering making a financial contribution to the construction of the groyne, which could protect an erosion-affected council reserve from further damage from the sea.
The groyne would also protect private property on land owned by Te Rauone Incorporated.
The Te Rauone Coast Care Committee originally asked the council to share the costs of constructing the groyne with local residents and then take ownership of it, but TRI has since offered to own it after council concerns about ongoing maintenance costs, risk and liability threatened to derail the project.
The council had, in the meantime, commissioned its own independent technical review of the resource consent application and assessment of effects plans for the groyne prepared by the Te Rauone Coast Care Committee and Port Otago.
The council's community development committee was yesterday presented with a report from Tonkin and Taylor that concluded the application lacked technical detail. It appeared to have the groyne being built in the wrong place and constructed of the wrong material, and there was not enough information to assess the effects it would have.
An accompanying council staff report said the review acknowledged further design work was likely before construction started, and parks manager Lisa Wheeler said that could well address the reviewers' concerns.
Crs Lee Vandervis and Syd Brown said they were concerned about potentially committing $50,000 of ratepayer money to a plan experts said would not work, but Mayor Dave Cull said the parties should get together to agree measures to address the reviewers' concerns before that stage, as it was in the interests of both potential funders to ensure the design was as robust as possible before the consent application was lodged.
Councillors unanimously passed resolutions reflecting that position, including clarifications that the council would not own the groyne or be a party to the consent application to the Otago Regional Council, although it would make a submission as an affected landowner.
A report would come to councillors updating the situation before they deliberated in May on including funding for the groyne's construction in the 2013-14 annual plan.
Mr Cull earlier sought assurance, which he got, from staff that the council would have no responsibility or liability for the groyne.
Deputy mayor Chris Staynes said there needed to be a degree of confidence in the design before the money could be committed.
Cr Kate Wilson said she was concerned about what would happen if a wall failure in the future affected any council property.
Te Rauone resident Edna Stevenson, one of about a dozen residents who attended yesterday's meeting, said residents were happy so long as things continued to move ahead.
Hoani Langsbury, from TRI, said the matter would be discussed at its annual meeting in about a month's time and they would have more to say after that.