Hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair work will be needed to stabilise Orewa beach storm damage.
Visitor safety is worrying Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt, who called an emergency meeting with various Auckland Council staff on Thursday.
"We have to go in and do emergency works," Mrs Parfitt says.
She says visitor safety at the beach's badly damaged central part south of Kohu St to just north of the Orewa surf club is causing the "gravest" concern.
Mrs Parfitt says coastal management specialist Richard Reinen-Hamill from Tonkin and Taylor walked the beach and reported back on options that require funding to be brought forward.
She says the work will be costly - probably in the hundreds of thousands - but that it has to be done. "We can't sit on our hands - we have to do it now."
High scarps left by tidal surges are at risk of collapsing and Mrs Parfitt fears children ignoring warning signs and safety barriers to play on or near the steep faces risk being buried or falling off.
Hundreds of people took advantage of good weekend weather to visit the beach but no incidents were reported.
Existing consents mean sand can be carted from near the Orewa Estuary to replenish banks and back fill some rock walls.
Urgent temporary measures will be undertaken shortly while longer term options are assessed, Mrs Parfitt says.
She says the works should have been done about three years ago but it seems there were delays in hopes a proposed artificial reef would provide an erosion "silver bullet".
Sand building up along the shore from wave action was one hoped-for spin off of the project, which has yet to go to a hearing.
Council officers have assessed the damage to northeastern beaches, including Orewa, local and sports parks north manager Martin van Jaarsveld says.
Debris has been removed and some short-term stability work done to affected banks, Mr van Jaarsveld says.
"Engineers have been commissioned to provide us with advice on options along the wider beach area.
"This will be provided to us in two parts - emergency works that require immediate attention and management options for long-term solutions."
Mr van Jaarsveld says the local board and public will be consulted on the longer term options.
"We ask people to be patient as we assess the most suitable options and observe safety barriers and signs at all times."
Remedial works are likely to include sand replenishment, fence and retaining wall repairs, dune planting (during the planting season) and boat ramp repairs.
Omaha Beach further north suffered only minor damage in the storm.
It has a broad sand dune area left in place during development and stabilised with plantings.
Planning for sea level rises of up to a metre by the end of the century are recommended following the latest International Panel on Climate Change report.
More and stronger storms are also expected.
Authorities around the country are grappling with planning for these risks.
The council has been criticised for failing to adequately take future sea level rise into consideration in the Auckland Unitary Plan.
Critics include Forest and Bird and Albany ward councillor and environment and sustainability forum chairman Wayne Walker.
Tsunami risk is also considered much higher along the coast than previously thought after a newly released GNS Science report prompted a revision of Civil Defence responses.
More on sea levels and tsunamis in Thursday's edition.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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