The news on the port working with Napier City Council and maybe the community is very pleasing because the port has reviewed its consent to dump sand offshore where it cannot benefit Westshore Beach.
Most residents support development at the port but very few supported the port spending many millions on a consent to dredge good clean sand from the shipping channel and dump it as waste 5km offshore over 370 hectares of seabed.
The exciting part was the opportunity for residents and the fishermen to appeal the consent which was bad timing for the port and the HBRC as the owner wanting to sell shares.
The reference to the coastal strategy set up to address sea level rise due to climate change over the next 100 years has nothing to do with Westshore erosion due to starvation of sand.
Westshore has suffered erosion for 30 odd years since the shipping channel has been regularly deepened for larger ships.
NZ's expert coastal scientist Dr Hume representing HBRC at the consent hearing gave
evidence, "the sand trapped in the port shipping channel would otherwise replenish Westshore Beach".
This is not 'rocket science' and nobody suggested allowing the channel to fill up and
overflow. The excitement for Napier ratepayers is not about a favour from the port but more about having the city council insist on an obligation to put the sand to good use.
This should have been sorted out 30 odd years ago.
I appreciate the new port CEO, Todd Dawson, taking a genuine interest in Westshore erosion because his company holds the key to returning a sandy beach and coastal property protection in the lee of their development.
Both councils and the coastal strategy have given the port CEO the simple task of replicating natural ongoing coastal processes by dredging sand and dumping
it in strategic places.
If councils don't insist on another stack of expensive reports, the end result will be replenishment for all beaches between Hardinge Rd and Tangoio.
I appreciate NCC CEO, Wayne Jack, acknowledging Westshore is an important part of the Napier community but we agree to disagree on the significant cause for erosion on Napier's northern beaches.
We have a serious near shore sediment deficit and a Beach Nourishment Scheme which has failed to hold the beach and coastline as intended from 1987 but finally recognised by HBRC in 2017.
I believe along with a growing number of experts, if all sand trapped in the shipping channel was returned to the seabed off Westshore it would restore natural coastal processes and sediment movement before the 1980s.
This would restore Napier's once popular sandy beach, reinstate protection for all coastal property and city assets and the beach will return to grow in height and breadth to recover as a spit and therefore become resilient to predicted sea level rise and inundation due to climate change.
I appreciate the agreement between the council and the port but I fear we will run out of time.
Westshore erosion has to have some priority, a durable solution must be agreed on and the huge waste of ratepayer funds has to stop.
Since my commitment to seek a better solution back in 2009, all I have heard is "the port will never agree". I fully supported an appeal to the hearing decision but after some excellent 'good faith' discussion and finding no excuse for a battle between the port and the city council, I agreed the three CEOs would be able to work together.
The region should be watching very closely.
* Larry Dallimore is a Napier city councillor