DCC: Final vote tally + St Clair boat ramp

Emperors new clothes [catherinewhite.files.wordpress.com] re-imaged 1

### ODT Online Fri, 18 Oct 2013
Final tally increases mayor’s vote margin
By Chris Morris
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull extended his victory margin slightly when the Dunedin City Council’s final election results were released yesterday.
The figures, which added about 340 special votes not previously included, saw Mr Cull’s tally in the mayoral race rise by 158 votes, from 18,446 to 18,604. That meant his winning margin was extended by 113 votes, from 12,017 to 12,130, over nearest rivals Hilary Calvert (now with 6474 votes) and Cr Lee Vandervis (5872).
The final results saw small increases in the votes cast for all nine mayoral candidates, as well as the city’s 14 elected councillors.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
13.10.13 Pressuring Cull and his GD Party . . .
3.10.13 Exercise your right to VOTE
29.9.13 Alert: Dunedin voters —Mayors gain more powers

Council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring said the first rock placement was included in the already documented $500,000 cost of immediately fixing [the] problem. The rocks placed this week cost about $60,000. Consultants hired by the council to look into the problem plan to report to the council next week, and may be required to do more work.

### ODT Online Fri, 18 Oct 2013
Start on Esplanade boat ramp close
By Debbie Porteous
The Dunedin City Council will begin building a temporary rescue boat launching ramp at the north end of the St Clair Beach sea wall next week, after this week dumping another 1000 tonnes of rock along the wall. The ramp is to run from the north end of the Esplanade down to the beach, and will be used by the St Clair Surf Lifesaving Club to get its inflatable rescue boats to the water. The club lost its original concrete ramp after the sea wall near the ramp was undermined and the fill behind the wall sucked out to sea earlier this year.
A consent application was lodged, but the ramp would be built at the same time as the application progressed, as it needed to be in place for the start of beach patrols at the end of this month.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
26.5.13 [bad news] St Clair seawall #FAIL
25.6.13 DCC Annual Plan 2013/14

Campbell Live 17.6.13 [screenshot 1a]Campbell Live 17.6.13 [screenshot 2a]Campbell Live 17.6.13 [screenshot view1]St Clair sea wall, Campbell Live (TV3) 17.6.13 [screenshots]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image (top) – Emperors new clothes [catherinewhite.files.wordpress.com] re-imaged by whatifdunedin


Filed under Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

58 responses to “DCC: Final vote tally + St Clair boat ramp

  1. ### dunedintv.co.nz October 31, 2013 – 6:56pm
    Majority of Saint Clair’s esplanade remedial work complete
    A front end loader or two may still be in place, but the majority of the remedial work to Saint Clair’s esplanade is all but complete.


    Related Post and Comments:
    28.11.11 St Clair seawall and beach access

  2. ### ODT Online Wed, 6 Nov 2013
    DCC election expense returns still coming in
    By Chris Morris .
    Former cabinet minister David Benson-Pope spent more than $7000 to help secure his return to the Dunedin City Council, documents show.
    Read more

  3. A new $65,000 ramp at the north end of St Clair’s Esplanade allows inflatable rescue boats to be launched and provides public access, including disability access, to the beach. The Opus report on options for long-term protection of the sea wall is yet due.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 9 Nov 2013
    Access ramp ‘better than what we had’
    By Debbie Porteous
    St Clair Surf Life Saving Club members say a new access ramp to the beach is even better than what they had before.
    Read more

  4. Elizabeth

    ### dunedntv.co.nz August 15, 2014 – 5:55pm
    New hole opens up in St Clair’s Esplanade
    A new hole has opened up in St Clair’s Esplanade, despite nearly $700,000 being spent on the area in the last year. Sink holes opened the pavement in May 2013 after big tides sucked sand away from the beach, allowing the fill behind the wall to be sucked out. And despite a lot of time and money being spent on the problem, the city council says there’s no cause for concern.


    ### ODT Online Thu, 14 Aug 2014
    Fresh sinkhole opens in St Clair Esplanade
    By Debbie Porteous
    A new sinkhole has opened up in the Esplanade at St Clair after heavy seas battered the sea wall. The hole appeared about 5pm this evening and the eastern part of the Esplanade has been cordoned off.
    Read more

  5. Phil

    Maybe my memory is hazy but I don’t remember there ever being a problem with the old sea wall. I spent entire summers there as a kid (and quite a few school days during High School years) and there was never any issue with the wall or indeed any of the access stairs. But ever since they started messing with it……

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 16 Aug 2014
      Esplanade collapse linked to long-term seepage
      By Debbie Porteous
      A hole that opened up on the Esplanade at St Clair is hoped to be an isolated incident related to water getting in by the old surf club ramp, rather than low sand levels in front of the sea wall. Dunedin City Council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring says he believes a 50cm-deep hole that appeared on Thursday was the result of leaks in a wall along the side of St Clair Surf Life Saving Club’s old access ramp, which is still partly exposed to the sea.
      Read more

  6. It is an engineering design failure plain and simple. The consultants eyeballed the council years ago at the first ramp failure inquest. The council blinked, the consultants walked, we are left with it. It has just gone from bad to worse ever since and will continue to do so. The consultants should be held to account and made to mitigate the problem. They took the fee and the responsibility to deliver. They haven’t. They have a professional obligation here but only if forced to do so. Meantime the ratepayers will pick up the tab in perpetuity. If only we had some professional management in house.

  7. Elizabeth

    Cull with his little finger in the hole of the dyke of ratepayer monies.



  8. Elizabeth

    Link thanks to Hype O’Thermia

    St Clair wall ?Dilbert - dt141124.tif24.11.14 http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/opinion/cartoons/6489991/Dilbert

  9. Elizabeth

    Staff report recommends new management plan to maintain existing wall, at a cost of $850,000 over next decade.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 26 Nov 2014
    New sea wall management plan backed by councillors
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin city councillors have backed a new plan to manage the St Clair sea wall, rather than spend millions building expensive improvements to protect the area. However, the decision at yesterday’s Dunedin City Council infrastructure services committee meeting came only after fresh questions were raised about legal action over the failures of the existing wall.
    Read more

    Report – ISC – 25/11/2014 (PDF, 404.3 KB)
    St Clair Seawall Update

  10. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online November 26, 2014 – 5:46pm
    St Clair sea wall maintenance plan will see it through the next decade
    The sea wall at St Clair is expected to cost the city council $850,000 to maintain. That money should cover costs for the next decade. Councillors support the maintenance plan, although they’ve raised questions about who’s responsible for last year’s sea wall collapse.

  11. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz May 19, 2015 – 7:35pm
    St Clair seawall undergoing further reinforcements
    St Clair’s problem-plagued seawall is being further reinforced, in anticipation of wild winter weather. Vulnerable sections of the seawall’s foundations are being strengthened by Dunedin City Council contractors. But getting work done in a timely manner is proving to be a challenge.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Dunedin City Council contractors have wisely called on the expertise of international experts Heath-Robinson, Canute and Uncle Tom Cobley & Associates. They’re not cheap, but at least we can have confidence nothing can go wrong now.

  12. Elizabeth

    Repairs and more sheet piling needed to protect sea wall.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 30 May 2015
    Beach ramp removed after latest damage
    By Chris Morris
    A 12-tonne concrete ramp that “unhinged” from the St Clair seawall in this week’s heavy seas risked damaging the wall as it swung loose, the Dunedin City Council says. […] bringing forward the removal of the section of ramp had cost the council up to $10,000 […] Damage to the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club’s nearby access ramp had also been noted, and would need to be repaired next week.
    Read more


    Comment at ODT Online

    Time to move on
    Submitted by Dunedin Dave on Sat, 30/05/2015 – 9:03am.

    OK, let’s face it – St Clair beach has had it. We can’t stop the sea and soon the access to it will be gone. Admit defeat, council.. Why not totally redevelop St Kilda? Make the current St Kilda play park into an area similar to what St Clair has now with cafes etc. Cont/

  13. Lyndon Weggery

    Until the DCC stop listening to the surfing fraternity and seriously consider many local suggestions to establish a groyne off-shore and near the Salt Water Pool we are only playing with nature and simply fooling ourselves.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Mmmmm….. mot juste, non? Oui, oui!

    • JimmyJones

      Lyndon: the only people being fooled are the people that believe that the DCC has not made another gigantic cock-up in designing the new sea-wall and access ramps. It wasn’t the weather and it wasn’t God – we know this because the old wall and stair access lasted 100 years and coped with much worse sea conditions and more severe sand movements. In fact the old wall is still there – holding up the new wall.
      One solution to the design problem is to demolish the new wall and revert back to the old wall. The DCC should learn that it can’t design things – they might claim that they didn’t do the detailed design, but the top-level design for the wall was theirs.
      We should learn that the $5 million/year that the DCC spends on spin-doctoring is a symptom of a culture of dishonesty. Expect all DCC mistakes (like this) to be hidden in a big cloud of spin-doctoring. This is DCC policy and it is ODT policy to print whatever it is told.

      See my ODT comment here » http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/344114/beach-ramp-removed-after-latest-damage#comment-72246

  14. JimmyJones

    The ODT wouldn’t print this OnLine comment or other softer versions:

    Sea-Wall Engineering Incompetence
    The DCC and the ODT are in a state of denial about the cause of the failure of the St Clair sea-wall. The cause of the problem is poor engineering. Trying to shift the blame on to God or the weather is cowardly and is a good way to repeat the same mistake over and over again. The failure of the design of the wall is obvious because there have been no unusual stresses on the wall – such as an earthquake, for example. The wall since it was built has been exposed to the normal conditions that it should have been designed to cope with.

    The ODT is wrong to say that “The first two sea walls, built in the 1880s, lasted only a few years” because it is a false justification of the futility of resisting nature. We can tell now that the DCC in the 1880s eventually learned from their mistakes and built the old wall which lasted 100 years. This pertinent fact does not appear in the recent comments of the DCC and the ODT. Long lasting sea-walls have been, and are being built all over the planet. We expect the post Sukhi Turner DCC to be able to do this also.

    In this case, bad design work from the engineers is the responsibility of the DCC. Poor quality engineering work from the DCC is a serious problem, more serious than just the failed St Clair wall. Get it fixed.

    [this is a response to this ODT editorial – http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/259721/sea-wall-rethink-required%5D

    • Peter

      Didn’t the DCC call back and negotiate with the company who designed the new sea wall and Esplanade to remedy their stuff ups? If so, isn’t this admitting the ongoing troubles are as much the fault of the engineers as the climate/ weather factors?
      Also, would ANY new design guarantee a solution to containing raging seas? If not, does managed retreat come into play? Or do we continue to just put the finger in the dyke?

      • Could this have been an experimental ‘partnering’ contract such as is now being considered by the council’s audit and risk subcommittee. Maybe they were ‘partnered’ with the council and are going through a post marital ‘traumatic phase’ before a divorce settlement is completed. If so perhaps the council should have made a pre-nuptual agreement.

        Managed retreats are all the rage these days. Napoleon was a dab hand at that in the old days – perhaps we should check the history books for a clue.

      • JimmyJones

        Peter: The DCC is responsible for the design, even if some of it was contracted to others. My guess is that the designers told the DCC not to stick the stairs to the outside of the wall and told them that the new wall is not deep enough and will cause a problem. I also guess that they would not be held financially responsible for problems caused by those things that they were warned about.

        Is it not blindingly obvious that the design is the problem? We know that the old wall lasted over 100 years, whereas the newly designed wall didn’t. The problem is that the new wall is suspended from the old wall and only penetrates a few metres deep into the sand. The insufficient depth of the wall means that with the normal variation of sand levels, the sand level sometimes falls below the bottom of the wall and the backfill gets extracted through the big hole. They have started fixing this in some places and not others so that we don’t realise that the whole thing is fu*ked.

        I am unaware of any reason to believe that the raging seas at St Clair are any more intense now than they were 100 years ago. The main difference is that now-days the DCC has a communication and marketing department to invent excuses for staff mistakes. Managed retreat is not a politically viable option; it is not even a practical solution compared to building a properly functioning sea-wall. We know we can because we have done it before, very successfully. Do you think it is impossible to build a sea-wall that lasts more than 5 years?

        • Hype O'Thermia

          “Do you think it is impossible to build a sea-wall that lasts more than 5 years?” Alas yes, JimmyJones. It’s down to climate change. Rising sea levels combined with lowering brainpower levels, no way can the designs of yesteryear be up to today’s challenges.

        • Calvin Oaten

          I believe the responsibility for that sea wall failure lies fairly and squarely with the design engineering consultants Duffill Watts and King (morphed into other titles since). As professional engineers who hire out their expertise for fees they are bound under the law to supply work fit for purpose. It is similar in context to the CTV building failure in the Christchurch earthquakes. I understood at the time that the original idea was to excavate the sand down to a basalt reef which runs along the beach. Then to cut a slot into the reef, drop the wall panels into the slot and grout them in place. Subsequently it was changed to sitting the panels on the reef and anchoring them back to the old wall. Why, or who authorised that I don’t know. It may have been City architect Robert Tongue as a cost saving measure, in which case DWK should have left the project on the grounds that it was an unwise move leaving the DCC to finish the project. But I understand DWK not only took design fees but also a contract supervision percentage of the contract sum. That in my opinion left them still in the gun as in effect giving their seal of approval for a substandard project. After the early failure of the ramp and stairs there was a meeting of the parties. I remember being in the Edinburgh Room when council met a DWK delegation led by Ian Chamberlain where they blinded council with science and bull dust. Both parties eyeballed each other and the DCC blinked first. I remember thinking this is it, the ratepayers have been stitched up and they most certainly are. A disgraceful performance by both parties. The problem is obvious, the wall is swinging and the sea pumps water under and around the panels sucking out the back fill causing the slumping of the esplanade. It will be a never ending problem. The ramp and stairs were seriously compromised by sea action within months of completion rendering them either useless or unsafe ever since. That was also a serious design fault as any engineer worth his salt would understand the kinetic energy of moving water on these obstacles on the front of the wall. Another detail was the appalling decision to construct the railings with galvanized steel knowing full well the life span in that environment. 316 stainless steel would have been more expensive but much longer lasting. Was it poor design or just ‘cheap’? Either way DWK were in the gun in my opinion. All in all, a disaster which ought to have been put squarely onto the professional designers to rectify and make good. Again our elected custodians failed in their duty just like almost everything they have touched this century.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Calvin, what fluff-brain thinks you can “build your wall on the sand” – well, bottom edge sitting on something solid but supported on all sides by sand, and expect it to stay put? Sand that was subject to forces altering its weight and altering how much force was exerted on front, back, left or right sides, and then removing the sand altogether, leaving it like a telephone pole would be if someone came along and removed the soil all the way down to the bottom of the pole. You’d need to have never, ever, in your whole life played on the beach or in a sandpit, so one surely can’t say it’s about the computer modelling, not when the basic concept is something most kids would have absorbed in play. And then the cherry on top, ratepayers’ blinking curse: “DCC blinked first”. He who blinks and runs away lives to blink another day. Never mind, it’s only money. O.P’s money.

        • JimmyJones

          Hype O’Thermia: Calvin said Subsequently it was changed to sitting the panels on the reef and anchoring them back to the old wall – but he didn’t finish the story: for some reason (financial short term thinking?) the new wall ended up not sitting on anything solid – in fact the bottom of the wall is only a few metres below the normal sand level and completely exposed to the waves during periods of low sand levels. When this happens the backfill is extracted by the wave action, as you would expect. There has been no long term declining trend in the sand level at St Clair.

          There is a graphic (somewhere) that shows:
          – how the new wall is suspended from the old wall
          – the total absence of anything solid under the new wall
          – the severely inadequate depth that the the new wall penetrates into the shifting sands of St Clair.

          The design is the problem and the only problem. As I keep saying, the old wall lasted 100 years (and still exists). It was designed to cope with the same heavy seas that we have now. Due to someone’s incompetence, the new wall was not designed to cope with those heavy seas and has been a failure. The DCC has budgeted for a gradual and costly upgrade to fix the lack of depth of the wall.

          For those panicky/Chicken-Little types among us, you should feel safe that you won’t be swept out to sea, because the DCC was too lazy to remove the old sea-wall. It is still there protecting the citizens of St Clair. The worst that can happen is what we have already seen with slumping between the old and the new wall – a spacing of about two metres. We can count on the old wall a while longer – a backstop to the DCC’s incompetence. Don’t panic. Don’t believe the lying turds at the DCC.

        • Elizabeth

          JimmyJones, the (TV3) graphic of the seawall is available at the post at the top of this thread.

    • Cars

      Engineers who do not engineer.

      New definition of incompretence now at Wikipedia.

      Incompetence- DCC

  15. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 17 Jun 2015
    Esplanade stairwell takes flight
    Another section of stairwell is removed from the Esplanade sea wall at St Clair yesterday by Fulton Hogan contractors working for the Dunedin City Council. The move was part of work to remove damaged sections of the wall, including stairs and an access ramp leading to the beach, following ongoing damage to the structure, council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring said.
    Read more

  16. Lyndon Weggery

    Having looked at the St Clair seawall today one is left with sense of foreboding. Things don’t look good and the locals are worried. I took the opportunity to do some research online on DCC management of this sensitive coastline area and found some interesting (but depressing trends):

    1. The same roading engineer that is supposed to have overseen the mudtank maintenance on South Dunedin flat (Peter Standring) is the same person responsible for managing the retention of the seawall.
    2. In Nov 2013 he convened a public meeting at Forbury Park Raceway to bring locals up to date with progress in addressing the many issues facing the St Clair seawall.
    3. At this meeting the Auckland-based Opus consultants were present to hear the views of locals before reporting back to Council. At this meeting I personally moved a resolution setting up a liaison group of locals to assist Opus and DCC with coming up with some long-term solutions to the problem of ensuring the new seawall did its job properly.
    4. In May 2014 Opus reported back to DCC with a range of options ranging from moderate cost of taking enough measures to minimize weather damage (as it arose) to the maximum cost of erecting a groyne offshore to take wave action pressure of the seawall in the long term. A reading of the report shows the views of the Liaision Group were faithfully taken up.
    5. As I recall DCC voted to take the least-cost option of an Ocean Beach “holding action” with minimal funding allocated and rolled over to the next budget year if unused.
    6. As we observe, the sea has continued its relentless path and DCC has always taken the minimum remedial action to preserve public safety without going further to allocate major funding towards a “Stage 2” as the Opus Report has always recommended.
    7. The flooding of neighbouring South Dunedin on Wednesday 3 June 2015 was a wake-up call for the DCC and the question has to be asked is their reluctance to move to Stage 2 of the Opus Report because they simply lack the funds (read Stadium) or is it part of their long-term thinking to stage a “managed retreat” from the whole area?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      – As I recall DCC voted to take the least-cost option of an Ocean Beach “holding action” – Lyndon Weggery – how unfortunate that they forgot to get the sea to sign up to a “holding action” for the same period. It could have been such a good plan……….

  17. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Fri, 19 Jun 2015
    St Clair beach now ‘a rock garden’
    By Carla Green
    “The DCC is turning an iconic beach into a rock garden,” long-time St Clair resident Peter Haslemore says. He, and fellow St Clair residents Graeme Newton and Bart Smail, have found a lot to criticise in the Dunedin City Council’s approach to addressing coastal erosion. But council staff and a university specialist have said their criticism was not well-founded.
    Read more

  18. Lyndon Weggery

    Elizabeth – one of the three “frustrated” St Clair residents featured today in the ODT is Graeme Newton (Surf Life Saving Club) who was mandated by the Nov 2013 meeting to help set up this Ocean Beach Liaision Group. So if their reported comments are anything to go by the Group hasn’t been allowed to have much say in the subsequent management of this serious problem. As this is of concern I have emailed my query about what has happened to this group to the ODT reporter who wrote the story (Carla Green) in the hope she will do some further investigation. I also copied my email to Councillor Andrew Noone (out of courtesy) as he chaired the meeting at the time. It is concerning to me that despite that meeting which had such high hopes for the DCC and locals to actually work together to resolve the problem; we don’t seem to have got very far to persuade Council to move to long-term solutions with the informed support of locals.

    • Elizabeth

      Lyndon, thanks for doing follow-up. Clearly, DCC appears to have not facilitated the local group. Peter Standring’s latest comments as alleged by ODT, perhaps suggest he should try to avoid media statements in future.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Shush, Elizabeth. Don’t discourage blurting. It’s the way truth escapes into the Big Wild World, including truths about how individuals think and feel, which shapes their decisions.

    • JimmyJones

      Lyndon: from reading the ODT, there is no sign that the Ocean Beach Liaison Group has made any recent recommendations to the DCC. The three enthusiasts have various theories and criticisms of the DCC, but I strongly suspect that they are not able to produce any sensible ideas.

      You say that the views of the Liaison Group were faithfully taken up by OPUS in writing their report. Following the Opus report the DCC decided on their St Clair Interim Risk Management Plan (14/5/14). So it looks to me that the decisions have been made and if the Liaison Group had more to say, then it would be too late.

      Are there things you don’t like about the St Clair Interim Risk Management Plan? You favour option 2 from the OPUS report, but I haven’t seen the report, so what is Option 2? and why do you think it is the best solution?

  19. Lyndon Weggery

    Jimmy – my research has revealed that the Opus Report dated May 2014 has always maintained that the reactive repair option (now adopted by Council last November 2014 as the Asset Management Plan with $850,000 allocated over the next 10 years) is the current option (Stage 1) and (in their words) will continue until “capital intervention measures” (Stage 2) have been undertaken and completed.
    If you study carefully their Stage 2 you will see where they divide it into two alternative options.

    1. Strengthening current seawall to withstand increasing wave impact.(Note how this has been partially included in current Asset Management Plan.)

    2. Dissipate wave energy with off-shore breakwater and the preferred option of most locals as indicated at the last Public Meeting held with locals in November 2013.

    On page 23 of the Opus Report the total cost of Stage 2 was estimated at $7.8M and for some reason Council walked away from taking this step to resolve the situation in the long-term. What they did was to defer any proposed “capital intervention” as part of an overall and comprehensive review of future coastline strategy as part of the Ocean Beach Management Plan.

    This view is reinforced by the LTP 2015 which envisages “no operating capital expenditure” for the next 10 years. In fact the Reserves staff were able to show Councillors some “savings” in this particular budget item by carrying over unspent money from 2014/15.

    If my assumptions are correct Council are reluctant to move to Stage 2 within the next 10 years and in the light of the accelerated erosion that is worrying.

    The more I dig deeper into this debacle the more I suspect that meaningful consultation with locals has not been faithfully carried out contrary to the expectations of the last public meeting held in November 2013.

    It is significant that no mention of the very existence of the St Clair Beach and Seawall Liaison Group has been made in any of the Council documents that I have sighted online.

    While the Council is probably trying to save money here (because we all know where it has gone) I don’t think Mother Nature will wait 10 years and ratepayers and residents will start to wake up to the truth that spending our money on “nice to have but really unnecessary” projects is simply not acceptable anymore.

  20. Calvin Oaten

    This all goes back to 2004 when the wall was just being constructed. Coincidental with when the embryonic Stadium was being gestated. It all gets back to that period of rampant expenditure by debt raising, including the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum plus the Dunedin Town Hall Redevelopment Project. This all pushed the city’s core debt up from around $40 million to near $360 million. That combined with DCHL’s escapades the consolidated debt reached $630 million. Meantime nature served up an early disaster to the wall. The consultants DWK walked away from their obligations to make good. The DCC has been left holding the bag. Along comes a change of mayoralty and council and the spending has continued unabated. The gamble has been, Lyndon, and still is, that nature will ease off and we can get away with sticking plaster and the odd bandage. We can’t, and this now puts Cull into a catatonic state of denial. The long and the short of it is the city has been financially destroyed. The only eventual answer is to progressively move our debt up to the $850 million facility’s limit and progressive rate increases year by year. It’s not rocket science, it’s just facts, ugly as they might be.

    • JimmyJones

      Calvin: you say that Meantime nature served up an early disaster to the wall. The consultants DWK walked away from their obligations to make good. The DCC has been left holding the bag. Firstly, the seawall disaster wasn’t due to Nature, it was due to a gigantic design cock-up which meant that underneath the wall is a vast chasm of nothing. In particular, there is no concrete, so that during periods of low sand levels, the bottom of the wall isn’t deep enough to protect the fill behind the wall.

      And also, how do you know that DWK was at fault and not the DCC for the design defects. The DCC would have chosen the top-level design and most likely would have been consulted throughout the process. One reason why DWK didn’t pay up could have been because they weren’t happy with what they were asked to do and wouldn’t have done it without being excluded from being liable for what happened. In any case, the DCC is the one responsible for overseeing the whole design and build process. The DCC’s incompetence has caused, and will cause, a lot of extra ratepayer costs to repair the wall.

  21. JimmyJones

    Lyndon: Thanks for your clear explanation. In my view the OPUS stage 2 won’t happen because it is a bonkers idea. I say this because, for the St Clair seawall, a properly modified or redesigned seawall is a complete solution to the current substandard seawall. If you are a non-believer in durable seawalls, then you are wrong – and I can explain further. A properly functioning seawall doesn’t need an $8 million offshore breakwater to protect it.

    Also, for the erosion of the sand dunes (Middle beach etc), I am not convinced that there is any accelerated erosion. Just because we are aware of two recent occasions of erosion of the dunes, doesn’t mean that it has never happened before and it doesn’t mean there is a worsening trend. We should expect erosion of the sand dunes (it seems to happen everywhere) – and we should expect to spend some money repairing them. My guess is that they have always needed occasional repairs/maintenance. Repairing the dunes will always be cheaper and generally less harmful than building an $8 million offshore breakwater or extending the St Clair seawall.

    As for the sand level at St Clair, we know that this varies over time, but we also know that there is no long-term declining trend. We also know that the sea-level rise has been negligible over the last 100 years and no-one has tried to claim that the surf is any different to what it was.

    It looks to me that the DCC deliberately created a sort of feeding frenzy as a way of hiding its own incompetence in managing the design and build of the failed St Clair seawall. They did this by trying to associate the defects of the wall with some unrelated things like sand loss, dune erosion and global warming paranoia. It worked a treat, because with the help of the ODT many citizens have become victims of the DCC’s propaganda and they believe that the wall and everything is being destroyed by “the power of nature”, “global warming” and suchlike spin-doctored concoctions. The truth is that it is only half a seawall; it has a severe lack of concrete, specifically it is not deep enough by 20 metres or more. No doubt this was thought to be a cost saving idea.

    In short, I am saying that apart from the incompetently designed seawall, there is no problem and nothing new: the sand will come and go; erosion of the dunes will be ongoing and repairs will be needed. Even if you believe all of the DCC’s fearmongering, the $8 million offshore breakwater would have to be the worst possible option (for various reasons).

  22. Rob Hamlin

    If there is anything that the Ch Ch earthquake has taught us it is that the well connected Ch Ch GOB’s all did VERY nicely out of it at the expense of pretty much everybody else in the community. How nice it would be for the GOB’s in other cities if an earthquake could be organsed for their own location.

    Even if the community concerned is a squeezed out lemon after previous local GOB initiatives, a good juicy earthquake would open the floodgates of insurance payouts, EQC payout, general taxpayer subsidy, suppression of local government representation and the annihilation of the property and tenure rights of inconvenient small fry. This in addition to suspension of any kind of planning restraint.

    No earthquake in Dunners? – no problem – Just get your local government employees (Oops democratically elected representatives) to declare an unstoppable incursion of the ocean into South Dunedin – and organise to collect Fat Jerry from the airport in his new role as ‘Ocean Incursion Recovery Minister’. Then let the good times roll!

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    “Just because we are aware of two recent occasions of erosion of the dunes, doesn’t mean that it has never happened before” – JimmyJones, climate change belief (specifically, belief that it is happening very fast, and what’s more we’re causing it) has given rise to disbelief in the normality of unusual events.

  24. Elizabeth

    Dunedin sand dune damage response expected this week
    Dunedin City Council staff and engineers are considering the response to damage to sand dunes on city beaches, and expect to come up with options later this week.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Well, in a way there’s something new – not VERY new, it dates back to the completion of the Roxburgh dam. Huge amounts of material washed into the Kawarau River >> Clutha >> sea, then got moved around to replenish sandy beaches. At the same time “freak” wave action used to wash sand away from St Clair, but back in those days these were normal infrequent events, not “climate change”, it’s all a matter of the narrative of the time.
    Eventually all the ex-Kawarau solids that were in the river below Roxburgh ended up washed all the way down, but instead of steady replenishment this material is trapped by that dam, and now by the one at Clyde.
    There is apparently no plan/permission for a great flush-out periodically, which is evidence of dumb planning but what do you expect from experts who decided to build a big-mother dam on a fault line? Both lakes are gunking up, reducing storage capacity as well as altering the coast.

    When there’s nothing on t’telly one might speculate on the effect on Clutha dam(s) in the event of the alpine quake giving the area a good old shake-up. If Clyde goes it will probably deform rather than fall apart completely, nonetheless rather a lot of water would make its way suddenly downhill. Will it contain sludge-sand-gravel? What will be the effect on Roxburgh, will the suddenness stir up the sludge-sand-gravel already trapped there? And so on. Enough questions to fill in the enormous amount of time there’s nothing worth watching on t’telly, for anyone who hasn’t prepared ahead of time by putting books, tablet, DVD player and knitting within easy reach.

  26. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 23 Jun 2015
    Dunedin sand dune damage response expected this week
    By David Loughrey
    Dunedin City Council staff and engineers are considering the response to damage to sand dunes on city beaches, and expect to come up with options later this week. Similar damage to dunes in heavy storms in 2007 resulted in more than 12,500cu m of sand being dumped and formed along the sand sausages on St Clair Beach, and another 5500cu m moved and shaped at Middle Beach.
    Read more

  27. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 1 Aug 2015
    Sand dredged from harbour for beach repairs
    By Craig Borley
    Sand from Otago Harbour is on its way to Dunedin’s beleaguered Ocean Beach. The sand is being dredged from the harbour over the next five weeks and will be stored at a stockpile area at the end of Middle Beach’s Moana Rua Rd. It will then be used as needed for repair work due to be completed before next winter.
    Read more


    Hightower at ODT Online points out the bleeding obvious about commercial removal of sand at Tomahawk Beach:

  28. Elizabeth

    Nicely presented:

    ### ODT Online Sun, 4 Oct 2015
    Battle for beach: shoring up against nature
    By Craig Borley
    They’ve just always been there, a backdrop for photographs or a totem of human resilience, standing up to the South Pacific’s fury. But the St Clair piles weren’t built to be an art installation, or a symbol. They were built more than 100 years ago to stop an all too familiar issue – erosion. In the first of a two-part series, and as what could be their final summer approaches, Otago Daily Times reporter Craig Borley delves into the archives to look at the life and times and final stand of St Clair’s piles.
    Read more

    █ The article includes a brief pre-pile timeline of the area’s coastal erosion problems and briefly documents the use of groynes.

  29. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 11 Oct 2015
    Groynes buffeted by failure, opposition
    By Craig Borley
    St Clair’s erosion has been a problem for well over a hundred years. But by 1919 the solution seemed obvious – the wooden groynes now known as the St Clair piles were the answer. Almost a century later there’s no sign of new groynes being built. Why not? As what could be the piles’ final summer approaches, reporter Craig Borley concludes an Otago Daily Times investigation into the piles, their purpose and whether they will rise again.
    Read more


    ### ODT Online Sun, 11 Oct 2015
    Groynes not the answer
    By Craig Borley
    Groynes are still well used around the world, but generally not for large-scale erosion projects, a senior coastal engineer says. Dr Tom Shand, from engineering firm Tonkin and Taylor, says he does not have first-hand knowledge of Dunedin’s Ocean Beach but on beaches where sand depletion is a major problem, groynes tend to trap sand on one side and cause erosion on the other.
    Read more

  30. Elizabeth

    Surf lifesavers can’t quickly reach beach after winter seas damaged Esplanade access ramp and removed sand.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 29 Oct 2015
    Injury fears over Esplanade rocks
    Surf lifesavers fear more people will be injured on rocks piled at the base of the St Clair Beach sea wall. Two people have been rescued from the rocks in the space of nine days. Lifesavers sprang into action on Monday when a young surfer got stuck trying to climb the rocks near the shark bell.
    Read more

  31. Elizabeth

    Already the group had forged a working relationship with the council.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 24 Dec 2015
    Surfers’ safety concerns lead to action group
    By Craig Borley
    St Clair surfers sick of injured limbs and damaged boards have demanded improvements to the beach’s perilous access. Sand loss, coupled with the boulder wall protecting the St Clair sea wall’s footings, have made access at anything other than low tide so dangerous several surfers have been injured and their boards damaged or ruined.
    Read more

  32. Elizabeth

    “You can’t defeat mother nature so we have just got to try to provide a safe place for the public to swim….” –Cam Burrow, St Clair Surf Life Saving Club

    ### ODT Online Tue, 29 Dec 2015
    St Clair unsafe, guards forced down beach
    By Chris Morris
    St Clair surf life savers are operating from a temporary pop-up tent as sand – and swimmers – are forced further down the beach. […] The western end of St Clair Beach had become “a no-swim zone, really”, as erosion stripping the beach of sand left behind only large rocks protecting the Esplanade’s sea wall, [Cam Burrow] said.
    Read more


    ### ODT Online Tue, 29 Dec 2015
    Beach incidents prompt safety warning
    By Chris Morris on Tue, 29 Dec 2015
    Seven drownings in New Zealand in the past four days and a spate of rescues and other incidents on Dunedin beaches has prompted a blunt water safety warning from life-savers. New Zealand’s drowning toll for this year topped 100 yesterday after a man died near Tolaga Bay on the North Island’s east coast.
    Read more

  33. Elizabeth

    In tomorrow’s ODT news that DCC has decided to build a new access ramp for surfers at St Clair – it will be built close to the hot salt water pool and should be completed by June.

  34. Elizabeth

    Discussions in “very early stages”, no details of cost or timing known yet. –Richard Saunders

    ### ODT Online Fri, 12 Feb 2016
    Tyre ramp proposed for safer access
    By Craig Borley
    A ramp built from tyres and ropes could allow surfers safe access to and from St Clair’s waves as early as June. The proposal was put forward by the St Clair Action Group, formed last year in response to the beach’s deteriorating access, and had been positively received by Dunedin City Council representatives, the group’s spokesman Dr Richard Egan said.
    Read more

  35. Elizabeth

    ### DunedinTV Fri, 12 Feb 2016
    St Clair access ramp proposed
    A local community group is leading a motion to make the city’s main beach safer for residents. The St Clair Action Group is seeking approval from authorities to build a new access ramp for swimmers and surfers. It’s part of a newly-formed relationship that’s got civic staff uniting.
    Ch39 Video

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