A 40m erosion buffer zone along part of the southern coastal edge of Queen Elizabeth Park is being proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).

The authority said the proposed coastal erosion plan "acknowledges a 2010 study of the coastal edge of QEP which estimated that within 50 years up to 40m of fore-dunes would be lost, a single large storm event could result in 40 metres of erosion, and ongoing erosion is likely to occur along the toe of foredunes".

The area of focus is on the coastal edge from the park's southern entrance at Wellington Rd in Paekākāriki to about 900m to the north.

It includes dunelands, Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards club, Budge House, Wainui Pā, Wainui Stream, and a network of green open spaces, picnic areas, roads, carparks, trails and beach access. It does not apply to the holiday park or urupa.


"The key objectives of it plan are to relocate existing visitor facilities and infrastructure to areas outside the zone, restore the fore-dunes and provide sustainable access to the foredunes and the beach, and introduce interpretive signage," GWRC parks manager Amanda Cox said.

"The coastal edge of the park is a dynamic natural landscape, vulnerable to erosion and the effects of climate change.

"With the onset of sea level rise, more and more extreme rainfall events and the increasing frequency and intensity of storms, we're moving to protect assets, restore the fore-dunes and re-establish opportunities for people to use and enjoy the area."

The park's coastline is no stranger to weather-induced damage, she said.

"Two cyclones earlier in 2018 dramatically showed how vulnerable the park's coastal edge is to storms and erosion.

"The pedestrian bridge across the mouth of Wainui Stream was washed away and the toe of the foredunes significantly eroded.

"Tracks along the beach edge and the coastal ring road were eroded and beach access made difficult.

"GWRC has taken an adaptive management approach to dealing with ongoing and severe erosion, preferring to relocate assets and abandon some coastal tracks in the knowledge that building defensive infrastructure would be costly, unlikely to be successful over the long term and out of place in QEP's natural environment."


The plan was about "adapting to circumstances".

"It's obviously futile to fight against the immeasurable forces that erode these shores.

"The better course is to allow natural coastal processes to take place while protecting key assets and enabling access."

Consultation on the proposal:

· Starts on April 13, with a drop in session between 10am-12pm at the Wellington Rd entrance of QEP, followed by another at St Peters Hall in Paekākāriki on May 18 from 10am-2pm

· Stakeholder meetings will also go ahead

· An online Have Your Say page will be available for feedback

· Deadline for feedback is June 7, after which it will be added into the QEP Master Plan which will be created next year.