Stormy weather damages Waihi Beach

By Fritha Tagg

The wild weather and high king tides have scoured a large amount of sand off Waihi Beach.

Several Waihi Beach residents lodged their concerns with Western Bay of Plenty District Council utilities manager Kelvin Hill after the stormy week.

He visited Waihi Beach last Monday to assess the damage and on Tuesday morning he met with concerned residents whose houses were behind the newly built sand enhancement work (not rock wall).

Mr Hill said he listened to their concerns and noted the erosion had not, at this stage, affected any private properties.

He decided to carry out a complete review of the recent beach works.

Contractors Tonkin & Taylor and WBOP council staff walked the affected areas of the beach at low tide.

"We went from Glen Isla to Coronation Park. Photos were taken and each section of the beach was reviewed.

Rock reventment held up well

* The sand levels on the beach have dropped between 750mm to 1 metre and exposed more rocks and old gabion baskets

* The accessways are all high and dry, for example they do not meet the sand

* Timber ladders now have no sand at their backs

* The only accessways that were still workable were the ones built using sandbags

* Dune enhancement work from Flat White south to existing rock reventment has been washed away

* From Flat White north the dunes have also sustained damage

* The recent work done at the front of Coronation Park has completely washed away

Peer reviews experts said there was no point in doing any sand work on the beach until the current situation changes.

They said the sand has scoured off the beach and is now sitting out as a sandbar in the sea.

Mr Hill said council will ensure public accessways are maintained.

"We are conscious these king tides will still be here for four weeks in May - corresponding with the full moon.

"To fix this [accessways] we would need to import sand as so much sand has been scoured off Waihi Beach and we are conscious of not wanting to waste anymore money.

"The accessways will be fixed using timber this will allow people to get onto the beach.

"Our plan is to continue with planting on the tops of the remnants of the dunes and the plants are already purchased, however, experts advise not to start the planting until the end of May.

"We will remove some of the newly exposed rocks and incorporate additional temporary sandbags," Mr Hill says.

Another issue was the amount sound built up at the mouth of the three creeks that exit onto the beach.

The build up creates flooding upstream so contractor dug out the creeks.

The sand has been stockpiled to be used at a later date back on the beach.

WBOP will call a public meeting to discuss all of these issues.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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