Race is on to complete groynes

Work continues yesterday on the three rock groynes Port Otago is building to help stabilise Te...
Work continues yesterday on the three rock groynes Port Otago is building to help stabilise Te Rauone Beach on Otago Peninsula. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Work to end six decades of erosion at an Otago Peninsula beach is nearly complete.

The bulk of three rock groynes under construction now extend into Otago Harbour off Te Rauone Beach, about 2km from Taiaroa Head.

Port Otago civil engineer Andy Pullar said work in the marine area would stop to meet consent conditions on December 17.

But despite a Covid-19 lockdown-related delay there was still hope the contracted crews on site could complete the work by then, Mr Pullar said.

"They’re pushing really hard," he said. "If they get a decent run of good weather and good tides and the rock supply keeps up they’ll go very close to finishing all three."

Work on the southern groyne was complete, work on the northern groyne was three-quarters complete and work on the central groyne was about halfway complete yesterday, he said.

Some clean-up on the beach itself might be possible after December 17, but the beach would be accessible over the summer.

As a condition of consent, work in the marine area must pause between mid-December and February to allow for the sea lion breeding season in the area, he said.

The groynes are part of a joint multimillion-dollar project between Port Otago and the Dunedin City Council, to restore Te Rauone Beach and create a reserve area.

Te Rauone Beach Coast Care Committee is also involved in the project.

Over the past six decades the beach has been eroded and the sand dunes are diminishing.

A resource consent application for the Beca-engineered rock groynes and sand re-nourishment attracted 365 submissions — two against, one neutral and 362 in favour.

A public hearing was held on December 15 last year and consent was granted two days later.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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