West Coast seafront closed after wild weather

Wild weather yesterday aggravated coastal erosion at Cobden, with the car park at Jellyman Park now closed as a precaution due to the encroaching sea.

Boiling seas whipped up by gale force winds at the weekend also coated beachside areas throughout the West Coast with thick foam.

On Friday afternoon the Grey District Council gave an assurance it was monitoring ongoing coastal erosion hotspots - namely the Cobden foreshore, where heavy swells last week scoured away big chunks of the bank. The end of the car park at the north end had begun to crumble - an area extensively used at night by freedom campers visiting Greymouth.

Assets engineer Mel Sutherland said today the car park entrance was unsafe and had been closed as a precaution.

He urged the public to exercise "common sense"about getting close to the edge.

"The road is along the edge there and there is a bit of a drop - between half and one metre. It's cut into the northern end of the car park," Mr Sutherland said.

The temporary rockwork installed earlier this year further south towards the tiphead had held, despite the sea washing over the top yesterday, he said.

A long-time Cobden resident said on Friday there was a significant risk to those using the car park and the potential risk to Jellyman Park and nearby residents if the sea broke through.

He described the $25,000 of temporary rockwork placed there by the council earlier this year as "ridiculous"as that work was now "floating out to sea".

On Friday morning there was nothing to warn visiting members of the public of the subsidence risk at the edge of the car park, which was visibly falling away in the high tide.

The ground was cracking and falling away within metres of where a campervan had parked. A 100m stretch of the foreshore was crumbling away with the incoming tide, creating a steep drop down to the beach.

Mr Sutherland said he could understand public concern.

"The big picture issues need to be considered moving forward. The car park is one thing, but there's assets and the town of Cobden to consider as well; that's why we've involved the regional council." The remedial work needed to protect the area in the meantime was "not insignificant".

- Greymouth Star

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