Erosion, decades-old problem at Harington Point

Harington Point residents feel something is being done at last to deal with erosion at Te Rauone beach.

Members of the community attended the Otago Regional Council's engineering and hazards committee meeting yesterday, to ensure action was taken on a report on wave, tide and current monitoring at the beach.

Community representative Hoani Langsbury said the community wanted some action from the committee on a decades-old problem.

The report said there had been significant erosion at the northern end of the beach, closest to Harington Pt, and private coastal protection works had been installed as a result.

Erosion was outflanking the works at the southern boundary, eating away Dunedin City Council reserve land.

The regional council had undertaken two sets of monitoring.

However, because there had been no storms, the second set did not provide the information sought.

Cr Bryan Scott said some sort response to the report was needed.

"We're left a little bit up in the air. Where to from here?"

Cr Michael Deaker said the council should not spend any more time and money on analysis and instead start to do something.

"There needs to be some urgency . . . to plan a way forward."

Cr Sam Neill proposed an extra recommendation for the committee to consider asking the chief executives of the regional council, city council, Port Otago and residents to discuss a solution.

Chairman Stephen Cairns warned the regional council should not set a precedent by becoming involved, as natural beach erosion was a problem internationally and, with climate change, could become more prevalent.

"It's not the job of the ORC to step in and push back God and Mother Nature."

There were others, including the Dunedin City Council, whose job it was to project roading and infrastructure and Port Otago, he said.

However, he was happy for the council's chief executive to facilitate meetings with the city council, Port Otago and the community to further discuss Port Otago's proposal, put to the community earlier, of dredging sand and placing it at the northern end of the beach, along with re-establishing groynes to hold sand in place.

Chief executive Graeme Martin said any action would be expensive and there was a limited number of people to foot the bill for it.

The committee decided Mr Martin would facilitate a meeting between the city council, Port Otago and residents to further discuss the Port Otago offer.

Mr Langsbury said the community was comfortable with the committee's recommendations.

It was seriously considering the Port Otago offer but the community wanted to ensure the works did not impact negatively on the local environment.

"There is a feeling it can be done and still protect our values," he said.


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