Hawke's Bay man vows to beat the sea
WEATHER, SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT REPORTER
Would you spend $200,000 to protect your home from the elements?
A Hawke's Bay man trying to save his house from the encroaching tide says the construction of a new seawall should protect his home for the rest of his life.
But, while the barrier is finally being built, he has taken aim at the Resource Management Act, which he says is stifling progress.
Concrete manufacturer John Bridgeman said the $100,000 seawall he began construction on yesterday at his Haumoana property between Napier and Hastings cost him about the same again in consent costs.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Hastings District Council granted Mr Bridgeman resource consent in April to build a fortifying wall on the seaward side of one he built in 2004 to protect his property from the fast-rising sea.
The beach is eroding by 50cm horizontally and about 10cm vertically each year, and threatens 21 properties at Haumoana.
Yesterday, contractors began work on the 18-metre-long seawall, driving five-metre piles into the beach. The gap between the two walls will be filled with 200 tonnes of imported gravel. "They'll be able to call it Bridgeman Peninsula," he quipped.
Mr Bridgeman, 71, expected the work to take two to three weeks and said the marine barrier would probably protect his home, which he estimated was worth about $250,000, for the rest of his life.
In 2011 he applied to build the second wall with a 20-year consent. Though the district council was in favour of issuing a 10-year consent, the regional council opposed any new construction.
The application was granted by a regional councillor and two independent commissioners, who heard the application in February. The panel said the wall would protect Mr Bridgeman's property while Hastings District Council devised a long-term plan for coastal erosion, which might involve construction of groynes, or removing houses and property as the sea crept in.
Mr Bridgeman must also take photographs after a storm or swell comes over the top of the wall. The photos must show the seawalls at neighbouring properties after the storm or swell and must be provided to the regional council within a week.
A Resource Management Act was necessary but needed to be streamlined. One way to do this was to charge opposers consent application costs only if a project was granted consent, Mr Bridgeman said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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