Mokau coastal erosion - emergency reinstatement work at Point Road

Monday, 25 August 2014

Mokau residents are aware of the ongoing beach front erosion, especially in the vicinity of Beach and Point Roads.  

Recently, severe damage occurred to the end of the formed portion of Point Road with the loss of legal road access to some properties.

The following information sets out Council’s plans:

Council, as it did with the section of Beach Road at the northern end of the spit, will reinstate the damaged section of Point Road on an emergency basis, with the intention of protecting against further loss of the formed legal road in the immediate future and reinstating legal access to a useable formed road to service the affected properties.

Council is working closely with other agencies and stakeholders such as Waikato Regional Council, Mokau Ki Runga Regional Management Committee of the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board, NZ Transport Agency, and affected landowners, in carrying out this emergency work.  

An early estimate of the likely cost has been prepared.  Council will fund a cost share in the range of $60,000 to $80,000, which will be met from our existing budget funded by way of our existing District wide Roading Rate.

Reinstatement of the damaged part of the legal road reflects the same sound reasoning applied when Council undertakes any other instance of emergency road works repair or reinstatement.  It is important that we maintain capacity for public access over the public road and in doing so maintain access to the affected properties. This approach applies whether the emergency reinstatement work is at Point Road to repair sea erosion, or in other situations such as river erosion.

Council has followed a very consistent policy position in its response to the wider ongoing foreshore erosion process underway in the vicinity of the Mokau Spit.  The magnitude of the physical erosion process and its associated effect on private residential property is not something that Waitomo District Council (and by that, Waitomo Ratepayers) can fix, or even afford to fund.  

A natural process and a natural phenomenon are at work.  Council’s consistent position throughout the process to date has been to work for and promote a “managed retreat” approach for the owners of the “at risk” properties.  It is important that Council, in support of that outcome, takes all reasonable steps to keep the legal road way available and useable over the immediate future so that a managed relocation or removal of property can occur over time.  While this may seem harsh to many, it is the reality in this situation.

The challenge posed by the Tasman Sea and its effect on foreshore erosion at Mokau Spit is serious. The challenge of coastal and foreshore erosion is a major challenge for seaside locations throughout NZ.  Similar problems exist on a smaller scale elsewhere within the Waitomo District, such as at Marokopa.  Our District is not alone in confronting the challenges.  The problem exists elsewhere on a larger scale in places such as Whitianga, Waihi Beach and Nelson, to name a few.

Mokau coastal erosion - emergency reinstatement work at Point Road