Amberley golfers await road decision

A map showing possible options to secure access to the Amberley Beach Golf Club course. The golf...
A map showing possible options to secure access to the Amberley Beach Golf Club course. The golf club’s Grierson Ave option is in red, while the council’s alternative is in orange. Image: Supplied by Hurunui District Council
Golfers will soon learn where a new road will carve out future access to the Amberley Beach golf course amid the threat of erosion due to sea level rise.

Hurunui District Council will decide between a proposal from the Amberley Beach Golf Club to extend a road through a wetland, or a staff proposal to extend road access to the north.

Situated alongside Amberley Beach in Canterbury, the area is at risk of coastal erosion and with the existing access the 18-hole course under threat.

The Amberley Beach Golf Club made a submission to the council’s Long Term Plan hearings last month to remind the council of its commitment in August last year to investigate extending Grierson Avenue through the narrowest part of a wetland.

This proposal would secure access to the club’s course and clubhouse, as well as mahinga kai areas in the Waimaiaia Reserve, and the Waipara River mouth.

Club president Bruce Yates said he had expected provision to be made in the Long Term Plan.

But Mayor Marie Black said the process was complex and took time.

Council staff have held pre-consent discussions with Environment Canterbury to determine what would be involved in applying for a consent through the wetland.

‘‘I think it needs to be recognised these systems are lengthy and we, as councillors, can’t always influence it,’’ Mrs Black said.

‘‘But I do acknowledge it has felt very frustrating for our golfers, but we need to consider the whole impact across the community.’’

A report to last week’s council meeting said a pre-application meeting was held on April 23 with Hurunui District Council staff, Environment Canterbury staff and members of the golf club.

The consent process would require an assessment of environmental effects, an ecological assessment and a hydrological wetland assessment.

If lizards were present, a lizard management plan would also be required.

The construction of a road through a natural inland wetland was also likely to be a non-complying activity under the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater.

Council staff estimated it would cost $1.155 million to meet the consenting requirements to build the road.

The alternative option was linking Webbs and Hursley Terrace roads with Golf Links Road from the northern end.

This option would secure access to most of the golf course, but not the clubhouse and would reduce the course to 16 holes.

It would also secure access to the Waimaiaia Reserve and the Waipara River mouth.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.