Study assesses coastal hazard risk to beachfront

Published: Mon 8 Dec 2003 11:31 AM
Study assesses coastal hazard risk to beachfront properties
For immediate release: Monday 8 December 2003
Beachfront residents at Waihi Beach and Pukehina are sometimes not aware of the risks they take when they build houses on erosion-prone sand dunes, says Environment Bay of Plenty councillor Lorraine Brill.
Mrs Brill, chairperson of the strategic policy committee, was commenting on the results of a recent study of the impact of storms on the coastal dunelands of Pukehina and Waihi Beach. At both communities, houses are built on duneland.
In the past, most of the buildings were low-cost holiday baches, Mrs Brill explains. “But more and more people want to live permanently by the sea in larger, higher quality houses. And that increases the coastal hazard risk,” she explains.
Environment Bay of Plenty commissioned coastal consultant Eco Nomos Ltd to carry out the peer-reviewed study. Its purpose is to provide Western Bay of Plenty District Council with information that will help staff work out appropriate setback distances for redeveloped or new buildings at Pukehina and Waihi Beach.
The study assessed the impact of large storms on the line of dunes at Waihi Beach and Pukehina. It concluded that there are natural cyclical duneline fluctuations of 25 metres to 30 metres within 50 to 100 years. Erosion of this scale is a result of a number of larger storms rather than a single large event.
Mrs Brill says the results of the study will be significant to the owners of beachfront properties. It is important that the new information is made known to the community, she says. Environment Bay of Plenty will continue to liaise closely with Western Bay of Plenty District Council, property owners and the wider community to guide property development expectations at Waihi and Pukehina Beaches.
Copies of the report are available at many Bay of Plenty libraries and can be purchased from Environment Bay of Plenty or downloaded from Environment Bay of Plenty’s website

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