A Foxton Beach woman wants an investigation into why a popular wharf could crumble before a decision is made on how it will be fixed and who will pay.

Temporary remedial work to an old wharf at Foxton Beach carried out five years ago was already failing and had caused erosion that was threatening a nearby carpark and concrete quay.

Christina Paton said if an investigation showed the original work was substandard and the cause of the current problem, then those responsible should be accountable.

"You wouldn't accept that for a substandard job on your own property. Why is this any different?" she said.


A derelict old wharf was removed in 2014 with a temporary gabion installed. But the temporary gabion baskets were failing because the stones inside them were too small, and the wire used was galvanised and not to a marine standard.

Christina Paton
Christina Paton

"Who signed this off? People have to be held to account," she said.

As it was an expense that would ultimately fall at the feet of ratepayers, questions had to be asked, she said.

Horowhenua District Council met earlier this month to discuss the issue that was tabled in a report by chief executive David Clapperton. It said any remedial work would be costly if the carpark and concrete quay were found to be under threat of erosion.

"The baskets are in an advanced state of disrepair which is leading to undermining and erosion of the land behind the baskets themselves and indeed the carpark and concrete quay on the land owned by DoC," his report said.

The land was owned by the Department of Conservation on Hartley Street and the report said DoC had "no interest in managing or maintaining assets that are on its land as they were not installed by it".

DoC had not budgeted for the work anyway, he said. Neither had HDC in its Long Term Plan.

The matter was complicated by the fact the asset did not belong to HDC, which was gathering more information, and had engaged engineering consultancy firm Tonkin and Taylor to develop a long-term solution for the area.

A seal has a sleep near the Foxton wharf yesterday.
A seal has a sleep near the Foxton wharf yesterday.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between HDC, DoC, and Palmerston North commercial boat building firm ProFab Central Engineering Limited in August last year to address the issues.


The purpose of the MOU was to bring together parties with a stake in its future to work together to achieve common goals.

But Paton said before any rebuilding work began there should be an investigation into why the wharf was failing so quickly after the initial remedial work.

"It's a load of crap. What people need to be made aware of is that a Memorandum of Understanding is not a legally binding document. It's an expression of good intent. That is all it is," she said.