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One Tree Point Erosion Protection Investigation - Community Consultation

 
This page contains information about the One Tree Point coastline.
Updated: 6/06/2019 9:23 p.m.

Background

The One Tree Point coastline includes steep banks and cliffs that lead into the harbour.  There are multiple seawalls in varying conditions along the length of the coast.  There are also areas where no seawalls or erosion protection exists. 

Erosion protection work in this area has focused on individual areas that pose the most immediate problems, this has given ad-hoc and dis-jointed results.  We are changing our approach by considering the 4.3km of coast line as a whole, by agreeing the most appropriate designs for various sections and prioritising what sections will be focused on in the coming years.

Whangarei District Council’s Coastal Erosion Protection Policy is to undertake erosion protection works only where necessary to protect community assets and public safety and only on Council owned property or where there is significant benefit to the public.  Council will not undertake erosion protection works to protect private property except through targeted rates. There are circumstances where Council may support erosion protection works undertaken by the community.

The first step to developing this long-term approach was an investigation into the erosion protection options and current issues.  The investigation process involved;

  • Surveying and assessing the coastline and defining distinct areas,
  • Investigating the erosion protection options available for each area, and
  • Scoring each area based on different criteria to develop a list of priorities.

Consultation

The result of this work was the Investigation and Optioneering Report – One Tree Point Erosion Protection Investigation.  In late 2018, Council requested feedback on this report from the One Tree Point residents and property owners.  The focus points of the feedback were

  • The high priority areas and if they were the right areas to be prioritising,
  • The options available for the western cliff areas,
  • The values used to determine the priorities, and
  • Any opportunities for making improvements to the One Tree Point coastline.

Council received 44 direct submissions and an estimated 60 people attended the community drop-in morning.  This is a great turn out and shows the interested and passion the One Tree Point Community have for their coastline.

Outcome

Values to Prioritise Works

Since the end of consultation, feedback has been collated and compared to the published report. 

The values used to determine the priorities of each area were, in no particular order;

  • Public Health and Safety,
  • Protection of Community Assets,
  • Providing amenities, retaining access and open space,
  • Significant Landscape Feature, and
  • Cultural Significance.

We asked the community what they valued most, and found that they were generally in agreement with the values we had used.  Based on the feedback, the priority areas have not changed since the report was first released.  The report is a ‘living’ document, if ever changes occur the priorities will be re-assessed, based on these same values.

Opportunities

Feedback on the opportunities to enhance the coastal environment include improving access to the beach and esplanade reserves, installing seating in key areas along the coast and having a continuous walkway around the coastline. This feedback has bought about the Council decision to open up the existing Esplanade Reserves.  This will provide improved access to the public reserve space and onto the beach, and it enable people to walk much of the western side of the One Tree Point Coastline, even at high tide.

The Cliffs

The majority of the submissions agreed that the two areas of cliff along the western side of One Tree Point should be high priority for Council, and some felt that the area of exposed caves near Marama Place should also be high on the list.  The caves at Marama Place have been fenced to keep people away and Council are working on a more permanent solution to block the caves.

The options for the cliff areas were a rock revetment seawall, a rock wave dissipation system or ‘do nothing’.  The majority of the submissions wanted to see a rock revetment wall used for both cliff areas, however this has always been a contentious issue and others, including the New Zealand Geological Society, feel that rock revetment wall will have an unacceptable impact on the Outstanding Natural Feature.

One of the Community Outcomes in our Long Term Plan is that our district is positively adapting to climate change.  Climate change is a key consideration in how we plan our infrastructure for the district. Working toward our community outcomes, Council is looking to develop a climate change adaptation strategy that will:

  • Address existing gaps in our understanding about which Council assets are at risk from the impacts of climate change,
  • Provide guidance on planning and decision-making in respect of those assets,
  • Include tools to help us make decisions about whether or not to provide and maintain coastal protection structures based on long term planning.

One of the projects being worked on is a model to help us understand where our highest risk sites are and what approach best suits the district’s long term needs. These decisions can be complicated.  There can be conflicting interests regarding public safety, the protection of private and public assets and the maintenance of natural and cultural values. Based on past evidence, the current best practice guidance on coastal protection is to avoid the hardening of coastlines where possible. 

This strategy will be considered, alongside the finalised Investigation and Optioneering Report – One Tree Point Erosion Protection Investigation to determine the final solution for the cliff areas.  In the meantime, Council is committed to the safety of the public and will be installing signage and plants to keep the public away from the sections of cliff that pose a danger.

The Final Report

Follow the link below for the full report. The report has not changed since the consultation began.  Consultation found that the community was generally in agreement with the priorities. 

One Tree Point - Investigation and Optioneering Report [pdf: 26mb]

Going Forward

The report will be used to determine the areas to be focused on each year, as budget allows.  The first step for each area will be a more detailed investigation into the most suitable design and any opportunities to enhance the area at the same time.

 

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