Giant plastic sandbags now litter the entranceway to Baylys beach after last weekend's storm and some residents are blaming council decision makers.

The bags were installed by the Kaipara District Council four years ago with help and support from the local Baylys Beach Society to prevent erosion and to keep the accessway clear for visitors to the beach.

A resident says not long after they were installed they started falling apart.

"They started breaking up pretty quickly after they were installed and the guts spilling out of them is not recyclable," the resident, who wished to remain unnamed, said.


"I can't think of a single excuse for having bought these junk-filled bags from China without researching whether they would stand up to the weather. They simply botched it, and now there are environmental consequences."

The resident said his criticisms weren't of the volunteers who did the work, "but of the paid staff at the council who made a very bad decision with long-lasting consequences. I would have thought this was obvious".

Erosion on West Coast Northland

In a post on the Baylys beach community facebook page about the damaged bags, many described feeling at a loss as to what to do and others urged posters not to be too harsh in criticising the project.

Sue Kerridge said: "Spare a thought for the few worthies who were charged with the installation of the bags, imagine how disappointed they must feel ... perhaps KDC may do it better if there's a next time?"

Jill Spence said, bags were not the answer: "At the time it seemed a good idea, lots of work and landscaping went into the job, it's easy to put the boot in with hindsight."

Em Smith said the same issue was occurring elsewhere on the west coast.

"It looks the same at the staircase on the beach end of the DoC walking track coming from the Kai Iwi Lakes, not very environmentally friendly."

Kaipara District Council installed the bags at the entranceway to Baylys beach in late 2015 at a cost of just under $50,000.


At the time of the installation, Kaipara district roading manager Henry Van Zyl said the biggest focus was for them to secure the access for locals and tourists: "We just want to ensure people can get onto this beautiful west coast out there."

A Kaipara District Council spokesman says they are not responsible for their maintenance.

"In 2015, council made the decision to maintain the entranceway at Chase's Gorge to two- wheel-drive access. However, the sand bags are not within the scope of the road maintenance.

"We maintain the look of them as necessary such as remove any loose plastic, but the overall condition of the bags is not under council maintenance."

"NRC also has ownership and awareness around this, in that they issued the resource consents for any work to be undertaken on beaches."

The NRC said the consent for the work was held by the KDC, "so best direct your inquiries to them in the first instance".

The KDC did not respond to a request about who was responsible for the site's maintenance, but the Advocate understands the council has a history of managing the site.