BayBuzz’s own Keith Newman doubles as chairman of Walking on Water (WOW). He’s chuffed at what has finally been achieved by the Hastings District Council to protect Cape View Corner in Haumoana from sea rise and extreme weather events with a limestone revetment wall.
Keith says he’s impressed at how the council has managed to get on with this urgent work despite the arduous red tape around consenting that has undermined previous attempts to resolve this longstanding problem of coastal protection. WOW has been advocating for this protection for 12 years.
“In many ways,” he says, “Hastings is leading the way for other councils around the country looking for a template in how to get on with protecting vulnerable areas of coastline where residences and public infrastructure are at risk of erosion, inundation and sea-level rise.”
“The creation of a 120 metre long limestone revetment wall was achieved through a collaboration between council and the community. Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst listened to community submissions put forward by WOW Inc over the past decade and led the charge for her council to have a budget set aside for the work.”
Newman commends HDC’s director of major capital projects, Graeme Hansen, who kept the community informed, negotiated the obstacles and brought the project in on budget. “For the cost of an average house along the coast, the corner, the road, water mains, power and the cycle track have been protected and the area has been landscaped and planted and is now a wonderful asset for the Cape Coast.”
He says what Hastings Council is achieving along the coast is designed to align with the Coastal Hazards Strategy, and should be championed as a template for the rest of the country.
The key he believes is an active community group consulting with residents, strong support from local councillor Ann Redstone, and working alongside key council advocates including the mayor and Mr Hansen.
“The only frustration that remains around this and similar projects is that consenting hurdles and costs seem to get higher every year suggesting to me that central government ought to simplify such processes. Around the country coastal communities are hamstrung by bureaucracy, different interpretations of the RMA and coastal documents that defer, delay and undermine community confidence.”
Without clear guidance from central government, a common approach to consenting, and a willingness to protect important coastal areas, Keith says “council consenting departments instead of supporting the best solutions, either raise the barriers on consent or end up acting like profit centres.”
Hastings district councillor Ann Redstone thanked everyone involved with the project.
“This rock revetment wall will protect council assets at a fraction of the cost of ‘managed retreat’, and I have been thrilled to see the public interest in it with many people taking an opportunity to have photos taken beside it. Who would have thought that something so functional could become a tourist attraction?”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she was “incredibly proud” of the final result.
“The Cape Coast is the jewel in the crown of the Hastings district, and this stretch of road is used by thousands of locals and visitors to the district every year – the establishment of this wall with the protection it offers, as well as the beautification of the area, is a truly valuable addition.”