Te Rauone's future still sticky point

The Te Rauone community is at odds about finally getting on to the council's funding radar regarding a city contribution to a breakwater to mitigate erosion on their coastline, a representative says.

Hoani Langsbury is chairman of the Te Rauone Coast Care Group and representative of the Te Rauone community, including owners and lessees of private property affected by erosion in the area. He said he had spoken to various members of the community since hearing this week's news the council was prepared to contribute $50,000 to the breakwater's construction next financial year, if it could satisfy its remaining concerns in the next few months.

The council has asked staff to report back by March on its review of the design of the groyne, and any potential liability the council might take on in taking ownership of it, ongoing maintenance requirements, sea level-rise effects on it, the landowners involved, confirmation of charging mechanisms, and any other risks to council involvement.

It would not take responsibility or pay for sand renourishment requirements.

It was a good result, despite the uncertainties that remained, Mr Langsbury said.

''It is very positive, considering we've worked very hard with the council for the past five to seven years to do something towards building the breakwater, and we haven't even got it into the draft [annual budget] document before.''

He was not surprised councillors still asked new questions, but expert reports from Port Otago showed there were no negative effects expected from the breakwater and he expected it should not take council staff too long to review those documents and come to the same conclusion.

The council's $50,000 contribution cap for the construction of the about $180,000 breakwater was a ''little bit light'', considering it owned 35% of the affected land, but the community would make submissions along those lines via the annual plan process.

However, another resident, Edna Stevenson, said there was a real feeling of disgruntlement, and she had not heard anyone speak positively of the council's position yet.

In fact, people were almost at the point of creating an action group to demand council action.

They wanted the council to stop being negative about the community, stop putting obstacles in the way and just get on and do it, she said.

- debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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