As readers know, a controversy has been simmering over the future of the Clifton, Te Awanga, Haumoana coast. When heavy seas pound the shore (like, as I write), we’re treated to scenes of major destruction … homes endangered, roading lost and dangerous debris littering the beaches.
One’s first reaction – especially if not a resident of the area – might be one of sympathy, tempered by a sense that “They should have known better.” And when the issue of what to do about it arises, perhaps the ratepayer’s gut reaction is … “It’s not up to the rest of us to bail them out.”
Another response might be, “Engineering can’t solve the problem … global warming with its predicted sea level rise and more intense weather events will inevitably win the day … that coast is toast!”
When the issue first arose, neither the Hastings nor Regional Councils were keen to step in with a rescue plan … presumably reflecting some of the attitudes just expressed, and sheltered politically by DoC’s “Let nature take its course” stance.
However, HDC, closer to the political pressure of an aroused coast constituency, and not ultimately in a regulatory role (as the Regional Council might be) was cooperative enough to keep the ball in play … at least through the 2010 election window.
“Cape Coast” residents seized the opportunity, proposing a plan that – they insist – provides an effective engineering solution to the erosion threat at little or no incremental cost to Hastings ratepayers. Indeed, a solution they say would transform the “Cape Coast” into a vibrant recreational and scenic asset for locals and tourists alike.
And yesterday’s announcement by the Regional Council and Venture Hawke’s Bay that their bid for Government funding for the ‘Landscape Trail’ through the scenic Tukituki Valley south of Hastings has been successful would seem to lend some credence to the coastal community’s aspirations. Funding of $1.89 million for the Landscape cycle trail — some of which passes along the endangered “Cape Coast” — has been approved by the Minister for Tourism.
For the current BayBuzz Digest, the coast’s advocacy group, Walking on Water (WOW), provided this timely article making the case for restoration … Last Chance: Cape Coast Rescue Plan.
What do you think?