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Sand solution to save council $3.6m

MEDIA RELEASE

June 14, 2002


Sand solution to save council $3.6m

Auckland City will save $3.6 million by replacing sand on Kohimarama Beach, rather than opting for a short-term solution of replacing only the sea wall.

The sea wall at Kohimarama Beach is pounded by waves and has partially collapsed in places. The beach is also being eroded and losing sand.

Replacing the sea wall will cost $3.6 million which the council says will solve the immediate problem and is the minimum that must be done to comply with the terms of the Auckland Regional Council’s (ARC) coastal permit. However, ultimately, the declining levels of sand at the beach will have to replenished at a cost of about $6 million.

Council officers say by replenishing the sand there will be sufficient protection for the sea wall to eliminate the need to build a new one – saving the council the $3.6 million construction cost. Some minor works to the existing sea wall will still be required with the sand replenishment option.

A joint meeting of the Recreation and Events and Works committees yesterday (Thursday, June 13th) endorsed the project to spend about $6 million to replace the sand, subject to engineering reports to ensure that it is the most cost-effective option.

While the repair of the sea wall option would be cheaper, at $3.6 million, the council says this is not a satisfactory a solution as it doesn’t address the problem of sand depletion or restoring the amenity at the beach, both of which are requirements of the Auckland Regional Council which is the consenting authority for the beach.,

The chairman of the joint committees, Councillor Scott Milne, says the sand replenishment option is a better long-term investment for the council with greater community benefits, rather than just building a new wall.

“We would have to replenish the sand at Kohimarama shortly anyway, so it makes more sense to replace it now and save ourselves the cost of having to build a new sea wall,” says Councillor Milne.

“It is important to note that this option negates the need to do other than very minor works to the sea wall, as the sand height will protect the wall and prevent it suffering wave attack and erosion.”

Another important factor in this solution, he said, is that it has the support of the ARC..

Councillor Milne says other options have been discounted as being either insufficient to solve the problem, or too environmentally disruptive to gain ARC approval. The sand option is consistent with the council’s Eastern Bays Coastal Management Strategy.

A report to the joint committees recommended an option which “is to nourish the beach” by putting up to 60,000 cubic metres of sand to create a dry high-tide beach over half a kilometre of shoreline.

It will have the crest of the beach half –a metre below the existing pavement and reduce the need for handrails, while improving access from the walkway to the beach. Sand replenishment also negates the need to modify or extend stair access or boat ramps as these would be substantially covered and there is little need for work on the sea wall itself.

The report says there are also benefits for pedestrians and motorists along Tamaki Drive, both of which are “compromised” during storms through wave break, spray and surface flooding.

The joint committees approved the work, subject to the engineers’ report, to be funded over three financial years, from 2002 to 2005 and requested the council’s chief executive to include the 2002/4 and 2004/5 funding requirements for the project in the direction setting and financial envelopes for those years’ annual plans.

Councillor Douglas Armstrong, the chairman of the council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee and an Eastern Bays councillor, says the decision to re-sand is by far the best decision as it is protecting the city’s assets.

“This is what councils are meant to do – it’s good stewardship,” says Councillor Armstrong.

He says spending $3.6 million on the sea wall would be wasted and there would be no benefit to the public, but by re-sanding the council was creating something huge numbers of Aucklanders could enjoy.

ENDS


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