Diggers will be shifting sand on Orewa Beach next week, restricting access to the public and reducing the area patrolled by surf lifesavers.
The process involves removing sand from the southern end of the beach and transferring it to erosion-affected areas that were badly affected by the storm on January 4 and 5, which coincided with a king tide.
Fencing is being erected now, in preparation for work, which begins on Monday, January 22 and continues for a week. It is hoped that work will be completed and fencing removed on Friday, January 26, in time for the long weekend.
While work is being carried out, access to the beach will be limited. The hours of work will be 7am to 6pm daily, depending on tidal activity. During this time, staff will be available to show people where they can access the beach.
Access to the beach will be available from the north side of Orewa Reserve to Arundel Reserve.
Gates in the fence will enable the public to access the beach outside of work times.
If it’s after 6pm and the fence gates are open, the public can go onto the beach.
Access will be as normal for the green reserve areas, playground, barbecue areas, the estuary, boat ramps and wharf.
Orewa Surf Club president John Chapman emphases to the public that while the work is underway, the only surf patrolled area will be at Arundel Reserve.
Auckland Council says that the work, which is carried out routinely and costs around $50,000–$80,000 per year, was brought forward after Mayor Phil Goff assessed the storm damage with members of the local board and Council engineers last week.
The erosion between Marine View and Kohu Street resulted in a complete loss of sand which had been put there as a storm buffer just over a year ago.
This area is where Council proposed to build a seawall – a project that was denied resource consent and is now under appeal. If the seawall were built, Council made it clear that sand transfer would still take place.
Council’s head of operational management and maintenance for community facilities, Agnes McCormack, says when there are extreme weather events, Orewa loses sand in two key areas of the beach.
“Replenishing the sand in these areas provides a storm buffer to protect the beach from further erosion, at the same time restoring access and amenity by creating a pleasant sandy beach,” she says. “It is important to restore the sand on Orewa beach, because if there should happen to be another extreme weather event in the interim, the beach is very exposed to yet more erosion, and this is an unacceptable risk.”