Local authorities say it's time to discuss how to fund the fixes for coastal hazard risks between Clifton and Tangoio.
Next week, the councillors from Napier, Hastings and HBRC will discuss what the funding model might look like. It is widely accepted that coastal hazard solutions are expensive to implement and involve long-term commitment.
A fit-for-purpose funding approach needs to be established for Napier and Hastings communities, one that may in time be extended to serve Wairoa and Central HB.
Climate change on the East Coast means 'dry and dryer' in the years ahead. The flipside of this is sea level rise with more frequent and intense storms.
If no adaptation occurs, these changes will inundate low-lying coastal settlements, contribute to coastal erosion and leave communities more vulnerable to tsunami effects.
Two community-based assessment panels - one to the north, the other south of Napier Port - have arrived at uncosted fixes.
These initially favour renourishment, groynes and seawalls. The task ahead for the project's council's is to establish a 'first principles' approach for cost allocation and funding to enable the community panels to consider how this might affect the affordability of their preferred options.
Joint committee chairman Peter Beaven said the fixes proposed by each panel were, so far, based on priorities - excluding cost.
"First, we wanted each coastal community to look at all available solutions over the next 100 years with no cost limitation," said Mr Beaven, "After starting with 18 options to reduce coastal hazard risks, we're down to about six.
"Of six remaining options, costs in the short, medium and long term will be significant. It is uncertain if these preferred fixes are affordable. Once we agree how the councils will fund the options, the assessment panels may decide to change their priorities, but that's not a council call."
Funding options up for discussion by the councils include targeted rates, loans and contributory funds, noting that the regional council already has a regional model in place to fund flood control schemes.
The Coastal Hazards project is due to wrap up in early 2018. A special consultative process in 2018 will focus on final recommendations.
The next steps now are for the northern and southern panels to hold a second round of community workshops, at the end of October, to consider the shortlist of fixes.