Huge slip on SH6 has silver lining for Punakaiki beach camp

By Teresa Smith of Westport News

Debris from Sunday's big slip which has closed the Coast Road is being dumped beside the Punakaiki Beach Camp to help protect it from the sea. Photo / Teresa Smith
Debris from Sunday's big slip which has closed the Coast Road is being dumped beside the Punakaiki Beach Camp to help protect it from the sea. Photo / Teresa Smith

The huge slip near Meybille Bay, south of Westport, is proving a cloud with a silver lining for Punakaiki.

Some of the estimated 2500-3000 cubic metres of soil and rock which landed on State Highway 6 is being trucked out to a quarry on the Fox River side while material from the southern side is going to the Punakaiki beach camp.

The West Coast Regional Council is using the material taken to the beach camp to extend the sea erosion bund which it recently put in place as a temporary measure while seeking agreement from local ratepayers about extending the sea wall.

Beach camp lessee, Craig Findlay, said he was delighted with the arrival of the unexpected rock supply.

Although the slip had meant fewer guests at the camp it had brought a surprise solution to the problem of sourcing material to protect against erosion, he said.

The way the temporary bund has been constructed means the trucks can easily back along and deposit their loads to extend it while a digger is on hand to do the finishing touches.

Mr Findlay described it as a win-win solution as it solved the issue for the New Zealand Transport Agency and the West Coast Regional Council about where to put the debris and helped build up the erosion defence at the same time.

He said surveyors were due in today to assess how the bund should be extended to cover the corner of the camp round to the Pororari River.

Sea erosion has been an ongoing issue at Punakaiki for many years with more than 11 metres being lost off the frontage of the camping ground this year alone.

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