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Kia ora everyone
We are contacting you to inform the wider Port Waikato community about what’s been happening behind the scenes regarding erosion.
The Port Waikato Resilience Group (PWRG, a combination of local residents, Waikato District Council and Waikato Regional Council representatives) have been holding regular meetings throughout the year.
What’s been happening
The group has completed a literature review and undertaken options analysis regarding coastal erosion at Port Waikato.
These documents can be found on the Waikato District Council website here. The main ones to look out for are eCoast’s Overview of Coastal Processes and Drivers of Coastal Hazards: Port Waikato and PWRG’s Port Waikato Resilience Strategy.
During the year a 100m3 of sand was pushed up in front of the car park to see how long it would provide sacrificial benefit or protection.
Results were difficult to determine as rate of erosion differs throughout the year.
But a resource consent application has been prepared and is about to be lodged by Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service to allow for up to 1000m3 sand push-up in front of the car park and private properties to north of carpark.
There’s also been various measures taken to improve drainage at the beach car park to avoid exacerbating erosion happening through run-off from rainfall down the dune face.
The group is also developing a long-term adaptive management plan looking at long-term future options regarding erosion and other coastal hazards (eg sea level rise), including managed retreat.
Meanwhile, a project proposed by Sunset Beach Lifeguard Service suggests a retaining wall embedded in the steep dune on the edge of the car park. The intention of this is for sand to be tipped over the edge to try and slow down erosion.
This has been discussed by the Port Waikato Resilience Group (a combination of local residents, Waikato District Council and Waikato Regional Council representatives).
It is undergoing technical review prior to any application for resource consent etc. This has not been endorsed or funded by Waikato District Council at this stage.
Recent erosion spike
As you will know, the recent weather has hammered coastal Port Waikato recently, from the end of November onwards.
The section of the car park on the beach side of the safety barrier that has been in place has slipped down the steep dune on to the beach.
It has also further damaged the accessway down to Sunset Beach, washing it out at the bottom.
So Council has moved the fence 5m inland, along with the safety barrier.
We have also cut and removed asphalt back to the new line of fence to try and prevent asphalt from falling onto the beach.
There are also about 90 sandbags being put on the car park, stretching about 80m. This is in place to try and further limit the amount of run-off from rain going over the edge of the car park down to the beach. This has been causing erosion at the top of the steep dune.
Improvements in line marking and signage at the beach car park are under way and will be put in place as soon as possible.
There is also work being done on the accessway, which has been done a few times.
The latest work is making it more accessible, especially important for surf life-saving vehicles, using existing rocks, sand and gravel from the beach.
We are also clearing debris and asphalt that has slipped down on to the beach from the car park.
Sunset Beach Toilet news
The Ngarunui Beach (Raglan) toilet building, built new in 2019, was removed from the beach where it was at risk of being destroyed due to erosion.
The building was partially dismantled and transported to a building yard for refurbishment. Here the toilets were converted to flushing systems and will replace the current toilets at Sunset Beach.
We are working with a contractor to complete the installation of a new AES dispersal field in the New Year. The existing toilets will be connected into the new infrastructure until the relocated Ngarunui Toilet block is installed, in the first half of the new year.
The new Advanced Enviro-Septic (AES) wastewater system to solve issues with compliance being experienced with the existing system will be installed at the upper edge of the reserve next to Maunsell Road.
The necessary resource consents and building consents applications are being lodged this week.
Community meeting planned
There is a community meeting planned for late January to discuss Council and PWRG activities at the Port regarding erosion and other matters. Date, time and venue will be confirmed in the new year. All are welcome.
UPDATE: This meeting is taking place on Saturday 28 January from 10.45am to 12.30pm at the Community Hub at Sunset Beach.