Progress for beach project celebrated

Members of the Otago Peninsula community joined forces with visitors for a tug of war, during a...
Members of the Otago Peninsula community joined forces with visitors for a tug of war, during a special picnic to celebrate the preservation of Te Rauone beach. PHOTO: ELENA MCPHEE
Sun, sand, and original music from a veteran entertainer featured at a picnic on Te Rauone beach on the weekend, a celebration of the start of efforts to protect the area against erosion.

The resource consent process is about to get under way for three groynes, which will form part of a joint multimillion-dollar project with Port Otago and the Dunedin City Council, to restore Te Rauone Beach and create a reserve area on the Otago Peninsula.

There is a $900,000 budget over three years for the project, and council chief executive Sue Bidrose, who attended, said resource consent would be lodged by the port about a week from today.

Otago Harbour SOS group member Olly Ohlson composed a special song for the occasion, which was attended by 40 or 50 people, including local families, tourists, and Dunedin South MP Clare Curran. Mr Ohlson and fellow group members Chris Bininda and Jan McLean said the fight to protect the area was not over yet, and the group would keep reminding the council and the port of their commitments.

"The good thing is that Port Otago has acknowledged that they have a responsibility to mitigate the damage done," Ms McLean said.

Among the locals to enjoy the day were farmer Barry Russell, who grew up in the area in the 1950s and 1960s, and had lived there all his life. Since he was a child, between 60-70m of land had been lost.

"The erosion on this beach has been unbelievable," he said.

When his own children were growing up he used to tell them to stay away from the sea when ships came into harbour, and he remembered seeing waves come in at right angles to the ships, which would travel "like a cutting blade into the sand".

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