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Published: 2012-05-16 00:00:00

Joint media release from Thames-Coromandel District Council and Waikato Regional Council
A project to address beach erosion issues at Whitianga is well advanced and discussions are due to be held with the local community about how to make progress.

Whitianga Coastal Futures is a joint initiative between Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) and Waikato Regional Council.

It is looking at how best to address long-standing erosion problems at:

  • three sections of Buffalo Beach
  • Brophy’s (Ohuka) Beach
  • Robinson’s Rd Beach

“The issues involved in managing beach erosion at Whitianga are complex and we need to look at potential costs closely for both councils and private land owners,” said the regional council’s coastal programme manager Dr Peter Singleton.

“We and TCDC are committed to working through those issues in a methodical way so we can implement appropriate solutions in consultation with the community.”

The two councils have commissioned a draft report on options for short, medium and long-term measures to manage the beaches. Work is underway to finalise options before engaging in discussions on the way forward with the community, Dr Singleton said.

In the meantime, a representative of the Whitianga Coastal Futures team is planning to talk with the Mercury Bay Boating Club about the localised erosion of the dunes adjacent to its clubrooms, including possible alternative boat launching arrangements. Previously, a coastal expert has not considered it feasible to use dune restoration and planting to protect the erosion scarp – a more appropriate approach is to step back and look at the bigger picture to allow for management of the beach system as a whole. However, the two councils are eager to engage with all landowners whose properties are threatened by the erosion on the best way forward.

“We want to promptly find ways of meeting local people’s needs, as well as protecting the beach’s recreational and economic values, and protecting private properties wherever possible,” said Dr Singleton.

“However, the coastal environment at Buffalo Beach is dynamic and complex and we will need to work carefully through the detail of the issues involved to ensure we arrive at an appropriate solution to the erosion issue.”