Waves continue to skittle St Clair piles

Lucy Matehaere with the St Clair piles  yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Lucy Matehaere with the St Clair piles yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

The historic piles at St Clair are disappearing at an increasing rate making it more likely this summer will be their last.

An Otago Daily Times photograph taken yesterday showed there were about 12 piles left - a 45% reduction since August when 22 were still standing and a 66% drop since January when 35 were still there.

St Clair resident and beach erosion campaigner Bill Brown said the piles could disappear after the next major storm or large high tide.

"Probably within the next 12 months they will be all gone,'' Mr Brown said.

The piles were disappearing because of pressure caused by sea currents and waves after they were battered by storms in the middle of the year.

He was not concerned about the piles disappearing.

"They have been there for 100 years. They have been wearing away slowly over that time and at some stage nature was going to claim them.''

Dunedin City Council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring previously told the ODT the piles were council property, but had served their time.

Protecting the remaining piles was not being considered and there was "no drive to resurrect'' the fallen piles.

The original groynes, built in 1902 and fitted with horizontal wooden boards, were successful.

Reports show the sand build-up left them almost completely covered by 1906.

Further groynes were built and it was not clear what year the surviving piles were placed.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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