Waikato District Council and Port Waikato residents have a plan in place should erosion continue at Sunset Beach.
The beach is an unpredictable area which could see either erosion or growth (accretion) of the beach depending on a number of environmental factors.
In recent years, Waikato District Council has sought feedback from the Port Waikato community, the Department of Conservation and Waikato Regional Council on what to do with public assets should erosion continue at the popular beach.
Following public engagement, a report was released in October 2015 which outlined the issues and the options available for alternative sites for car parking and the community hall.
After public engagement and feedback in 2015 and 2016, general consensus is that a planned retreat of public assets from erosion is the suitable response. The Port Waikato community has since identified where they would like to see assets such as the hall and car park move to if erosion dictates this.
Waikato District Council General Manager Service Delivery Tim Harty says 96 submissions were made to Council through the website and at the open day held earlier this year. “This level of engagement by the people of Port Waikato shows the interest of people who either live or visit Sunset Beach. They all want to be part of the forward planning for public assets in Port Waikato.”
A report has been put together and recently passed by Council which details the options the organisation and the Port Waikato community will take should erosion continue and the retreat of assets be needed.
If erosion continues, Council and the community’s preferred option includes keeping car parking as close to the existing Sunset Beach car park as possible. The purchase of private property may be needed for this option to occur.
The recommendations also include relocating the community hall to the Port Waikato rugby grounds (Albie Phillips Reserve) if it has to move. We will be liaising with local iwi to assess any cultural issues regarding the recommended options.
In the meantime, Council will continue to monitor the erosion situation around the car park and beach access area. Council has already removed the tyre wall to prevent tyres falling onto the beach and into the ocean. Please be careful around the erosion sites and stay behind warning signs and barriers.
What’s happening next?
- As always the Council will continue to monitor hazards from any continued erosion and will aim to provide safe access to the beach as feasible.
- The local beach care group is working with the community and Council to install some signage to keep people off the dunes.