$1.5m erosion wall favoured

By Janna Sherman
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A $1.5 million seawall looks to be the most favoured option to stop the sea biting away any more of the Hokitika beach foreshore.
A residents poll carried out by the West Coast Regional Council has so far shown a 650m rock wall — which could reclaim some of the lost foreshore by being built 20m out from the jagged erosion line — as the preferred option.
The option of a $984,000 wall built on the current erosion line was close behind.
Chief executive Chris Ingle said ahead of close off at 5.30pm yesterday that 400 surveys had been returned, nearly 40% of the 1219 mailed out. He said there had been little support for the option of doing nothing.
A newly formed working group — made of the Westland District Council, and regional council representatives — will meet on Sunday to go over all of the results.
Mr Ingle said about 20% of the surveys also had additional comments which would be considered by the group in its first meeting, before a recommendation was put to regional councillors at their next meeting, on Tuesday.
Mr Ingle said councillors would also discuss the best way to fund the works, including some form of rating structure. The cost per ratepayer would depend on where the property was located, the option picked and the value of the property. The most expensive is $133 a year per $100,000 of capital value of the property, and the cheapest is just $4.80.
The district council has also touted the idea of approaching the New Zealand Transport Agency for assistance as Beach Street is now under direct threat.
The erosion along the foreshore, which backs on to businesses and homes, has been worsening for some months — eating away a kiosk and forcing the removal of seats and sculptures.
Two weeks ago the regional council spear-headed works to put in a temporary road along what is left of the grassed area to allow the quick dumping of rocks if needed.
At the time it said rocks from its own quarry would be used to lower costs, which could be incorporated into a more permanent structure if that was the preferred option.
The five choices were:
 Do nothing.
 Semi-permanent: A 650m semi-engineered rip-rap rockwall; the rock would need to be regularly topped up. $543,000.
 Long term: A 650m permanent rock-armoured seawall with low annual maintenance costs. $984,000.
 Long term with reclaimed foreshore: A 650m seawall as above, but built 15-20m seaward of the current erosion line to reclaim some of the foreshore land taken by the sea over the past few months.
$1.5 million.
 Long term with raised bund: A 650m seawall but with an additional 1m height to minimise wave wash-over during very high seas. $1.04 million.
Deputy mayor Bryce Thompson and councillors Kyle Scott and Kees van Beek will represent the Westland District Council on the newly formed Hokitika Beach Erosion Working Group.
The West Coast Regional Council will be represented by Ross Scarlett, Bryan Chinn and Duncan Davidson.