Injury fears over Esplanade rocks

St Clair Surf Life Saving Club members Sam Clutterbuck (left) and Brent Matehaere stand above the...
St Clair Surf Life Saving Club members Sam Clutterbuck (left) and Brent Matehaere stand above the rocks where a young surfer was rescued on Monday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Rocks at St Clair Beach have resulted in two incidents where people needed to be rescued. PHOTO:...
Rocks at St Clair Beach have resulted in two incidents where people needed to be rescued. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

Surf lifesavers fear more people will be injured on rocks piled at the base of the St Clair Beach sea wall.

Two people have been rescued from the rocks in the space of nine days. Lifesavers sprang into action on Monday when a young surfer got stuck trying to climb the rocks near the shark bell.

Lifesaver Brent Matehaere said the surfer had been trying to leave the water but kept being hit by waves.

''He was hiding behind the supports of the old staircase under the shark bell.''

Lifesavers paddled in on a board and tube to rescue the surfer, Mr Matehaere said.

On October 19, firefighters and St John personnel rescued a young woman whose foot became stuck between boulders at St Clair Beach.

Surf lifesavers are concerned they cannot quickly reach the beach after winter seas damaged the Esplanade access ramp and washed away sand.

''How do we access the beach?'' Mr Matehaere said.

''How do we get people down and rescue people?''

St Clair Surf Lifesaving Club chairman James Coombs said the club had been forced to launch its inflatable rescue boats from St Kilda.

''We can't get the IRB down over the rocks and the ramp isn't functional,'' he said.

''The speed at which we are able to perform rescues is definitely the biggest concern.''

The sand wall covering the rocks was lower than it had been in several years, he said.

Dunedin City Council parks, recreation and aquatics group manager Richard Saunders said the council was in regular communication with the St Clair club to ensure it had beach access.

''There is regular maintenance occurring in this area as a result of damage from the sea.

This maintenance can include shifting rocks around to provide better protection to the ramp.''

More work was needed to provide a long-term solution for beach access, he said.

The council knew about the injury on the rocks last week and was reviewing the need for warning signs in the area.

''Given the environment, we encourage everybody using the ramp to exercise caution, as rocks can be moved by the sea and become slippery when they are wet.''

 

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