Flurry of Kapiti beachfront walls built

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 22:57 21/02/2013
Gavin Bradley
KAY BLUNDELL/Fairfax NZ

SHRINKING BEACH: Raumati beachfront property owner Gavin Bradley by the retaining wall that he wants extended.

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Hazard zones along the Kapiti Coast's threatened shoreline have prompted a rush among beachfront residents to build retaining walls before the rules change.

At present, homeowners can build walls up to 1.5 metres high within their properties without resource consent.

But if the Kapiti Coast District Council adopts its draft district plan, including the controversial 50 and 100-year predicted coastal hazard lines, resource consent will be needed for retaining walls of any height in no-build areas, if the wall is more than 5 metres long.

Raumati beachfront property owner Gavin Bradley said five new retaining walls had been built in Raumati and Raumati South since Christmas. Fourteen other Raumati Beach property owners were also looking at building an extended retaining wall.

He predicted a "frenzy of wall building" before the new district plan came into effect.

He and his wife recently asked the council about extending the retaining wall at the front of their home to protect neighbouring properties and were told the chance of a consent was very small.

The 600-member Coastal Ratepayers United lobby group is calling for the council to start the process again and consult affected property owners.

Fifteen CRU members attended a Paraparaumu-Raumati community board meeting this week criticising the council's process, a report leading to the establishment of the zones, lack of recognition of accretion (beach buildup) along parts of the coast, and lack of consultation.

Responding to community opposition, the council recently extended consultation on the hazard maps from March 1 to April 2, and decided to use independent commissioners for hearings on the issue.

The council put in writing this week that there was confusion in the district plan, "an inconsistency between non-complying and prohibited activity relating to coastal protection structures".

CRU spokesman Chris Ruthe said the council "should have got it right first off. It is still proceeding to expose ratepayers to unnecessary costs fighting this through the expensive planning process".

WALL TO WALL

A retaining wall is built on dry land not usually wet by the sea.

A seawall is built on land regularly wet by the sea.

Retaining walls come under Kapiti Coast District Council regulation, while seawalls are handled by the Greater Wellington regional council.

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- The Dominion Post

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