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Erosion-plan vote next week

News: Dunedin

Dunedin city councillors will decide next week whether to back a plan to continue a holding pattern in the battle against erosion in the Ocean Beach Domain area for the next decade.In the meantime, staff would do the costed design work on what are considered to be the two most viable medium- to long-term ways to manage erosion in the area - a buried backstop wall 10m inland and/or a 30m managed retreat of the dunes.
Work on developing a long-term plan for the coastal area between St Clair and Lawyers Head began after severe storms caused significant erosion in the area in 2007.
The council has continued to battle erosion on the stretch, using sand replenishment and other minor work.
A report from consultants Tonkin and Taylor, commissioned in 2010, suggested the long-term "adaptive management approach" now being recommended to council following public consultation.
The council received 26 submissions on the report, offering mixed views on how to proceed.
Some submitters clearly favoured a managed retreat at Middle Beach, but the hearings committee considering submissions concluded a buried wall and a retreat were both viable options and data collection over the next five years would confirm which option was then considered most appropriate.
Councillors will consider a report containing recommendations from the hearings committee and council parks manager Lisa Wheeler at Monday's community development meeting.
The report recommends the council continue sand replenishment and other minor work alongside careful monitoring of the area for up to 10 years, at an expected to cost of $4 million to $8 million.
A buried backstop wall 10m back from the 2007 dune toe position should be designed and costed in the meantime, for intended installation between the end of the St Clair seawall and the cultural centre in 10 to 50 years' time, but earlier if required.
A continuation of the buried wall along Middle Beach to the St Kilda Surf Club should also be designed and costed, as should a managed retreat based on a 30m setback from the 2007 dune toe.
Ms Wheeler said sports fields at Kettle Park would not be substantially affected by a buried wall, other than during its construction, but a managed retreat would have a significant effect on the fields, which would become part of the dune area.
The fields were fine in the meantime, and clubs would be consulted if monitoring showed that had changed, she said.
Initial estimates put the cost of an inland wall at $8 million to $13 million, or $11 million to $19 million for a managed retreat, including the cost of cleaning up a historic landfill under Kettle Park, the report said.