Feedback sought on Ōmāpere coastal erosion plans

Published on 20 October 2021

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Ōmāpere residents and property owners are being asked for feedback on options to manage coastal erosion that has claimed approximately 9m of a beachfront reserve over the past decade.

Erosion has been a problem for several years at Freese Park but is now accelerating with up to 0.7m of the reserve being lost each year to the Hokianga Harbour. Without intervention, it will endanger Council-owned assets including a wastewater pipeline, public playground, toilets, and a carpark. While the Council cannot remediate all coastal erosion, it does have an interest where public property and services are put at risk. 

Last year, the Council engaged specialists to investigate methods to halt or slow the erosion. After consulting with tangata whenua and the affected property owner, Stellar Projects has presented three management approaches for the community and Council to consider. These include building hard structures to halt the erosion, slowing the rate of erosion through ‘managed retreat’, or not intervening and allowing nature to take its course.

The public is now being asked to help the Council decide on the best course of action through an online survey being launched today. Survey forms will also be available at the Hokianga i-SITE at Ōpononi.  The feedback will help the Council adopt a solution later this year.

 General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management Andy Finch says that each approach has different financial implications for ratepayers and will have different impacts on the beach environment.

“Halting erosion will require the building of hard protection barriers. Three barrier options have been suggested, each providing different levels of protection and with different visual impacts. These will cost between $320,000 and $630,000 to install.”

He says that managed retreat, which relies on planting to encourage dune stabilisation, would be a cheaper alternative. However, this and the option of doing nothing would mean that structures in the path of the erosion would need to be moved to avoid being lost to the subsidence.

Background information and explanations of the different erosion management approaches can be found on the Council’s website at www.fndc.govt.nz/freese and on large display signs being installed at Freese Park.

Stellar Projects will also explain each management approach and respond to questions from the public during a webinar to be conducted on behalf of the Council. The 1.5-hour online event will start at 5.30pm on Wednesday 3 November. Go to https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqdOmtpj8pE9UNA-4ilH7gMieXw6qjBYg6 to register for the event.

“I encourage all park users and others interested in the future of Freese Park to review the material, join the webinar and then tell us which solution, if any, they prefer by taking the survey,” says Mr Finch.

To find out more and to provide feedback, go to the Freese Park page www.fndc.govt.nz/freese on the FNDC website.