King tides raise erosion fears at Punakaiki

By Teresa Smith

King tides are causing trepidation for Punakaiki coastal property owners. Photo / Jen Dillner
King tides are causing trepidation for Punakaiki coastal property owners. Photo / Jen Dillner

King tides forecast for Friday are causing trepidation for Punakaiki coastal property owners.

Punakaiki Beach Camp lessee Craig Findlay said at least another 1.5 metres of frontage had been lost since the sea erosion of the camp featured on the front page of The Westport News on March 16.

He fears that the camp area will lose some of its big trees into the sea by the end of this week and damage could also be done to the man-made wetland area where sewage receives its "final polishing".

That could put the future of the camping ground in jeopardy.

"Once we lose that then we have to cough up $200,000 to replace that on top of the seawall costs and it becomes too far out of touch for anyone to go to."

Mr Findlay said the West Coast Regional Council informed him today that it had received the report it commissioned from an independent engineer on routes for the protection wall. Work was still being done on costs before the information was presented to the community.

Mayor Garry Howard said it was clear that this was a West Coast Regional Council coastal protection erosion issue but that the district council was in discussion with the regional council to ensure there were steps in place for protection in Punakaiki.

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor Graeme Neylon, and Councillors Phil Rutherford and Graham Howard held a meeting in Punakaiki last week to discuss the erosion issue with residents.

Garry Howard said there was quite a burden being placed on Punakaiki village at present with the target rate for the current seawall to which the beach camp has also been contributing.

"It's how the target rate burden would be spread given that it's a small community with a very large cost."

Also discussed at the meeting was the idea of a community facility for Punakaiki for which the Buller council has budgeted $100,000. The meeting agreed that the council would commission a needs analysis to determine the form and function of the facility.

- Westport News

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