RAPID dune erosion continues —Council doesn’t give a toss

Dunedin esplanade St Clair [infonews.co.nz]Coastal Feb 2015 [world50th.files.wordpress.com]

Alex Gilks replies to article St Clair dunes ‘in no danger’ (ODT 3.9.15)

Published at ODT Online
Wed, 9 Sep 2015

Your say: Urgent action is needed
By Alex Gilks
Wayne Stephenson’s comments here, assuming they were reported accurately, seem quite a way off the mark. I’m no expert, but grew up near the dunes, and walk on the beach often.
I visited this morning, and the big sea earlier this week has carved off more of the top of the dune. The two big pines are about 5m and 10m from the edge of the erosion. Bill Brown is right: urgent action is needed. Big-scale protection at the bottom.
Putting aside the throwaway comment about the asteroid, here are the troubling things about this article:

• ‘no risk to property this year’ – this super short-term thinking should be criticized

• ‘if the dune’s foot was staying in place’ – the dune’s foot is absolutely not staying in place! The immediate reason for the dramatic erosion is that the toe of the dune has been completely hammered since the sand sausages were ruined. How can he not see that? Is he not actually visiting the site?

• the idea that the enemy is ‘winter’s storms’, and the implication that it will be ok again until next winter. Where does this come from? The south coast can get powerful southerlies at any time of year. Is there some data that you can use to show the frequency and time of year of southerly/easterly storms and high tides?

• sand sausages and sand replenishment as interim solutions, before ‘more permanent features in coming years’. Shouldn’t this receive more criticism? The previous sands sausages and sand replenishment worked for only what, a handful of years? Wouldn’t you just urgently undertake some more long-term solution?

For this to get real I think decision-makers need to walk along the ridge track from the Kettle Park area, see the shifting edge and the remaining area at the apex of the dune.
I’d take a botanist along too, to get a good gauge on the age of the trees that have been uprooted. The bigger ones must be 50-80 years old, yet you hear some people saying things like ‘this happened in the 70s/90s/a few years back’.
No. We need to get past this complacent idea that this is a seasonal thing, that it’ll replenish itself soon and will start working normally again in the near future.
ODT Link

Received from Hype O’Thermia
Tue, 8 Sep 2015 at 10:36 a.m.

The sea does not adapt to humans

Increased storms and extreme weather – get off yer bike! Just for fun I googled “British houses that fell into the sea”, not a helluva rigorous search……..

One dark night in 1664, while local people were attending a wake, the whole village of Runswick slipped into the sea…
Thankfully, all the villagers escaped but by morning there was only one house left standing… the house of the dead man!

As late as 1817 when George Young, the Whitby historian, wrote of the incident, articles including a silver spoon and coins which had been carried from the rubble by the tide were still being washed back.

It wasn’t always so peaceful – one night in 1664 the entire village slid into the sea! Returning from a wake, one of the villagers noticed the steps of his house slipping away beneath his feet. He gave the alarm and most of the village fled to safety. By morning only one house remained standing- the house of the deceased man. The village was rebuilt further around the shore but land slippage continued to be a problem. In 1970 a new sea wall was finally built, thankfully securing the village’s future.

In medieval times, when Dunwich was first accorded representation in Parliament, it was a flourishing port and market town about thirty miles from Ipswich. However, by 1670 the sea had encroached upon the town, destroying the port and swallowing up all but a few houses so that nothing was left but a tiny village. The borough had once consisted of eight parishes, but all that was left was part of the parish of All Saints, Dunwich – which by 1831 had a population of 232, and only 44 houses (“and half a church”, as Oldfield recorded in 1816).

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire
The raging storms have taken their toll, claiming many buildings as the limestone cliffs erode. In 1780, 22 cottages fell into the sea. Today a rock seawall helps protect the picturesque village.


Related Posts and Comments:
● 19.8.15 Paul Pope’s strategic overview of coastal conservation #Dunedin
● 11.8.15 DCC’s unmanaged retreat for South Dunedin
● 22.7.15 DCC Long Term Plan 2015/16 – 2024/25
10.4.15 DCC: Natural Hazards
28.3.15 DCC Draft Long Term Plan 2015/16 to 2024/25 —Consultation Open
23.11.13 DCC: St Clair esplanade and seawall [public forum] 27 November
18.10.13 DCC: Final vote tally + St Clair boat ramp
18.8.13 South Dunedin and other low lying areas
26.5.13 [bad news] St Clair seawall #FAIL
10.9.12 John Wilson Ocean Drive … reminder to all of DCC incompetence
30.7.12 ORC on hazard risks and land use controls
28.11.11 St Clair seawall and beach access

█ For more, enter the term *coastal* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: dunedinisforlovers.blogspot.co.nz – Majestic Mansions (April 2010); world50th.files.wordpress.com – dunes (February 2015)


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORC, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Tourism, Town planning, What stadium

7 responses to “RAPID dune erosion continues —Council doesn’t give a toss

  1. Lyndon Weggery

    We are right to be worried. Since I formally warned Council last Tuesday week the erosion at the top of the sand dunes has moved a further 4 metres according to Bill Brown. That’s 7.4 metres since the last red line of 4 August 2015!

  2. daseditor

    In reply to Alex Gilks comments. Most of the significant trees on Ocean Beach Domain of any substance were planted during 1900-1930. Marine engineer Mason advised the Ocean Beach Domain Board of the need for re-vegetating the dunes in 1904. Hancock largely followed this plan until his death in 1929 which was largely successful. The Olearia traversii on the track from the end of the sea wall to Kettle Park were planted around 1928/1929 as part of a beautification programme. The last time I looked they were still there.

    I can trace the arrival of Marram grass and Lupin from San Francisco to Dunedin in 1890. From 1891- 1920 the Domain Board planted it by the acre along with building sand trap fences to retain sand. Marram continued to be used through the depression by relief workers and was used up until the late 1950s. JH Hancock was probably the most successful Chairman of the Board in terms of getting things done on the sand dunes. Subsequent chairmen (including John Wilson) moved away more from the dune stability programme that Hancock and Mason had undertaken and began creating sportsfields and amenity developments.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    The area covered by the Dunedin Rugby Club and the Tennis/Netball courts and I think the Badminton Hall and Ice Stadium were all the City rubbish dump from who knows when until in the late 1950s when it was relocated to Green Island, then resurfaced and leveled. Someone else will know more detail.

  4. Rob Hamlin

    You guys just don’t get it. Ever since it happened, the Christchurch Earthquake has been touted by the suits as the best thing ever to happen to Canterbury and its economy. Now the eviction of poor people and development of juicy areas forcibly cleared is coming to an end, and there are long faces all round (pinstriped ones that is).

    The Jonky & mates message is clear. Disasters that involve the mass evictions of sections of the general population, and the forcible estrangement and redevelopment of their assets is a GOOD thing. Now get out of the DCC’s way while they organise our own version of this nirvana.

  5. Calvin Oaten

    That would be OK Rob if we could believe that the DCC could organise so much as a “piss up in a brewery”.

    • Peter

      Calvin. Try the CST. They managed a number of piss ups at the ratepayers’ expense and didn’t have to spend a cent. Ditto the ORFU with the Black Tie dinner.
      And our council equally corruptly turned a blind eye. No questions asked nor demands to have our money back.

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