Lives at risk, warns marine club

Lives will be put at risk because a council has refused to spend more money protecting a coastal campground and boat ramp, a marine club spokesman says.

Six months after spending $200,000 on a limestone wall in front of the Clifton Motor Camp, Hastings District Council has decided against extending the temporary protection.

After last winter's storm, the damaged road could be used only by motorbikes, and the electricity pole supplying power to the camp was in danger of toppling into the ocean. The wall "instantly" stopped erosion, Clifton Marine Club spokesman Paul Hursthouse said yesterday. He believed an extra 50 to 80 metres would protect the 50-year-old camp and marine club facilities used by coastal search and rescue.

The boat ramp was the only ramp available south of Napier, and lives could be lost because of the council's "short-sightedness", he said.

Marine club members were often helping out troubled boaties and had completed five successful rescues in the past season.

But councillors voted against further protection work, which staff estimated would cost another $200,000.

Councillor Henare O'Keefe did not want to offer the operators of the eroding coastal campground any false hope. "When Mother Nature comes knocking, get out of the way."

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers said it was time to stop throwing "more good money at it".

The council favoured a "whole coast" approach.

It was working with the regional council and Napier city on a regional coastal policy, which could take three years to develop.

The Dominion Post