Court allows Orewa seawall to be built

A seawall can now be built on Orewa Beach, following a decision by the Environment Court released today.

The original wall proposed for the section of beach between Kohu Street and Marine View combined a 600m-long grouted rock seawall with a section of engineered loose rocks and a small area of restored dunes. It included a 2m-wide walk and cycleway on top, along with access ramps and stairs at intervals.

This design failed to get resource consent – a decision that was appealed by Council.

During the court process, the design was amended and it is this version that has been given resource consent by the court.

The changes include reducing the footprint of the structure and adding two new access points. Sections that were loose rock are now grouted into a solid wall. A 600mm ‘upstand’ was removed. Dense planting has been added on the seaward side as a health and safety feature, to reduce falls.

The wall is expected to take longer and be more costly to build than the original proposal. The transfer of sand from the southern end of the beach to the north, is also likely to increase substantially.

Auckland Council and the Orewa community have waited almost a year for the decision.

The case pitted separate divisions of Council against each other as appellant and respondent – a process that has so far cost ratepayers close to $1 million (HM September 19, 2018). The cost of building the seawall itself was estimated several years ago at around $6 million.

This is an interim decision, subject to agreement between the parties on a set of draft final conditions, which they must do by June 12. The court will review these and either issue its final decision or convene a conference to discuss how any issues still in dispute may be resolved.

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