Milford beachfront residents, who had rocks delivered in front of their homes, thought they did not need consent to fix a sea wall, and the rocks were in a temporary position until they could be moved, a community leader says.
Ruth Jackson, a Devonport Takapuna Local Board member, said she had met with one of the homeowners where rocks were placed on the beach and they thought re-using local materials instead of dumping them would be good environmentally.
Several homeowners had the rocks delivered to repair a sea wall, she said, and they never intended those rocks to stay where they were.
"It was unfortunate they were left on the beach and are now an obstacle to walkers when the tide is high but that was only temporary," she said.
"I can understand beachgoers were horrified. But the homeowners didn't think they needed consent to do additions and repairs to their own seawall. They thought taking rocks from the nearby Milford Mall project was a good use of natural resources," Jackson said after she met with one of the owners last week.
The homeowner also told her the rocks trucked to the beach were not intended to remain in the place they were currently were, but to be stacked up at the seawall further back from the high tide mark, she said.
Herald attempts to contact the homeowners were been unsuccessful. One told Jackson today she did not want to speak about the issue.
"I'm passionate about our beach too," Jackson said. "I was as surprised as anyone to learn than a number of private properties actually extend out on the beach so it's not public. What I'm trying to do is to make sure these people speak to the right people at council so they can find out how they go about applying to fix their sea wall the right way. As a local board member, I have no say in that decision.
"The homeowners assure me the current position of the rocks is temporary until they can be lifted into position to strengthen their sea wall against storms. They are hoping to do this next week," Jackson said.
Stopping beachgoers walking the beach was never intended, she stressed.
"Their boundaries go some way out into the beach, but they don't intend to stop the public walking through as we've always done," she said.
Chris Darby, Planning Committee chairman and a North Shore councillor, said last week 22 abatement notices had been issued by the council for the rock activity.
Milford resident Perry Hutchinson said he saw a truck driving along Milford Beach many times nearly three weeks ago, where a landowner appeared to be dumping large volumes of big rocks on the sandy strip of beach in front of their home.
He was concerned the rocks were dropped in the coastal marine area and obstructed public access along the popular beach.
"It is systematic destruction of a pristine beach," Hutchinson told the Herald last week.
The rocks were brought by a contractor from the Milford Mall site to the beach. A lava flow is being removed from the shopping centre development site so excavations can be made to build a new block of apartments.
Mark Gunton, found of NZ Retail Property Group which owns the Milford shopping centre, said homeowners should be able to protect their properties. Using rock from the construction site was a good environmental move, he said.
But he stressed that NZRPG was not involved in having the rocks delivered.
Instead, the contractor taking rocks from his site had dealt directly with the homeowners, Gunton said.