More robust sand fences are set to be developed and installed at Sandy Bay after trial fences designed to stop erosion were broken during the storm.

Northland missed the worst of the damage caused by the storm which battered the country last week.

High winds took out power in some areas and trees blocked roads elsewhere. The king tide combined with strong winds brought the sea further up the beach and coastal areas than normal.

Erosion protection works were carried out at the popular surf beach last year. Whangarei District Council parks and recreation manager Sue Hodge said the first stage included excavation of a channel for the stream, anchoring of logs and placement of root balls, relocation of sand and installation of dune protection fences and sand fences.


"The erosion protection works including the logs are a 'soft option' that will not have the same effect as a hard solution like a rock revetment wall. This soft option was chosen in response to community feedback wanting something more sympathetic to the natural Sandy Bay environment."

She said the intention of the logs is to prevent the washing away of sand and the bank during a large storm event, such as last week.

"The logs were found to perform as expected. Over time they will be buried and exposed depending on the weather and sea conditions."

Ms Hodge said the sand fence is designed to capture the sand behind the fence to replenish the dune and to create a barrier to stop people walking on the dunes.

"The fence was a trial to see if this was an effective tool to retain the sand. Council were planning to review this after the summer and did not spend much money on its construction.

"Council is pleased with the concept of a fence to capture sand and plans to develop a more robust design and replace the existing sand fence as part of this project."

Contractors will return at the end of summer to reinstate the turf and remove small rocks. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Contractors will return at the end of summer to reinstate the turf and remove small rocks. Photo / Michael Cunningham

The second stage included construction of a carpark with new kerb blocks, chip seal, drainage, new seawall and steps onto the beach.

She said it was only partially completed before Christmas.

"The contractor will be returning to tidy up old seating, old bollards, exposed footings, improve the steps, reinstate the turf, remove small rocks and fence off to allow grass to be established. This will happen after the peak summer period."

Ms Hodge said council staff have been monitoring the works since mid-December to see how they responded to sea conditions and the large visitor numbers.

She added the new carpark at the southern end had created a new shortcut which people are taking which may cause the bank and dunes to erode and more bollards or fencing may be needed to guide people to the formal accesses.

The storm also caused damage to the One Tree Point timber seawall. Some of the sections have sustained only minor damage and can be easily repaired, but some have almost entirely disappeared.

Council staff have visited the area to assess the damage and are looking at the best options for repairing the damage.