Saturday, May 25, 2024

Beachlands shoreline adaptation plan approved

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Auckland Council has approved the Beachlands shoreline adaptation plan. File image supplied
  • By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter
    Funded by New Zealand on Air

The Beachlands shoreline adaptation plan has received the stamp of approval from Auckland councillors.

At the Auckland Council’s Planning, Environment and Parks committee on March 2, the Kahawairahi ki Whakatīwai, Beachlands and East Coast shoreline action plan (SAP) was the third of its kind to be approved.

SAPs are being developed by the council across the city to manage its coastal assets as erosion and sea level rise creeps up the coast.

The Beachlands and East Coast plan was divided into 31 coastal sections and while the report said most shoreline areas could be managed over the short and medium term there were several stretches that council staff recommended moving back walkways and infrastructure.

For the short and medium term these were Leigh Auton Reserve, western Omana Esplanade Reserve and western Maraetai Beach.

The long term strategy also looks to set back infrastructure on six other stretches of coast.

At the committee Cr Julie Fairey said coastal erosion was one of the difficult conversations happening in Auckland communities.

“(Some Aucklanders) are going through stages of grief. Denial’s one of those right? Getting people to accept change,” Fairey said.

Fairey asked how council staff were bringing Aucklanders along while developing SAPs.

Resilient Land & Coasts general manager Paul Klinac said people had a hard time seeing what managed retreat and naturalisation looked like.

“(They are) used to seeing a sea wall. We are talking about removing the sea wall and working with nature to restore what was there pre-modification,” Klinac said.

He said being able to show people successful areas of naturalisation was helpful.

“Post flooding and cyclone Gabrielle I think we are still in a part of the conversation where communities are asking lots of questions around the why and what is next.”

He said Aucklanders had an “appetite” for information and his team were trying to collect and provide as much information as possible.

Cr Andy Baker said Aucklanders would be weighing up what the changing shoreline means to them.

“Time and time again the people look at what we are doing and how they can apply that to their land,” Baker said.

There were several public sessions held on the Beachlands and Eastern Coastline SAP including community engagement days, online public events and digital engagement which Baker said were valuable to the community.

SAPs are continuing to be developed across the city with the next two planned for Manukau South and Āwhitu Peninsula.

There is $29 million is allocated for the renewal of coastal assets for the next three years in council’s long term plan. The SAP report acknowledged there would need to be a significant increase in funding for renewals.

Once all the SAPs are completed, council will begin a prioritisation scheme to see how much money is needed for this work.

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