Environment Waikato is putting pressure on beachfront residents to resolve the issue of unauthorised seawalls at Cooks Beach.
This week’s Regulatory Committee heard that residents of Buffalo Beach had now applied for consent for their seawall, which brought the debate into the public arena.
Resource Use Group Manager Harry Wilson said Buffalo Beach residents had formed a steering committee and applied for the consent which will test how the public value access to beaches. In June 2000 Environment Waikato and the Thames-Coromandel District Council had granted temporary 18 month consents to allow a seawall to protect properties from coastal erosion until a long term option could be investigated.
In April this year the Buffalo Beach Homeowners Association lodged consent applications to authorise long term placement of the seawall and a beach nourishment trial. However at Cooks Beach the Council had been trying to work with beachfront residents to either authorise or replace the seawalls that were built in the late 1970s. Some of these structures are now becoming dilapidated and are in need of replacement or rebuilding.
There is also growing concern from the Cooks Beach community for public access to and along the beach. Environment Waikato and the district council are discussing options and time frames to ensure that the process started at Cooks Beach continues.