Soft approach to storm defence at Stanmore Bay

Rocks are being replaced with dunes along a portion of Stanmore Bay beach.

Diggers have been removing rocks from the foreshore of Stanmore Bay and forming sand dunes in their place.

A total of 24 truckloads of rock have been removed from the reserve edge – this previously covered around 100m of the foreshore. The rock is to be used in another project in the Matakana area.

The work is being done by Auckland Council as a follow up to what was done early last year after a storm hit Stanmore Bay hard, washing away a substantial part of the beach reserve.

Council’s head of investigation and design, Rob Cairns, says when the work was done last year to remedy the storm damage, it was acknowledged that further work (stage 2) would be required to improve the beach’s ability to recover from future severe storms.

At the time, the possibility of building a seawall was among the options considered.

However, Mr Cairns says that Council’s coastal specialists have confirmed that, at the eastern end of Stanmore Bay, softer engineering comprising dune reshaping and planting is preferable over a harder seawall defence.

“Re-established dunes assist by trapping and binding windblown sand,” he says.

The work is also designed to improve pedestrian access.

No resource consent was required for the project because beach nourishment and dune stabilisation are permitted activities under the Auckland Unitary Plan rules.

Mr Cairns says the stage 2 work was scheduled to happen this year due to budgeting considerations and because dune grasses can only be planted in winter – the dunes are to be planted with 1100 grasses by way of a community day.

It is expected that the work will be complete by the end of this month, depending on weather, and the community planting day will follow.


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