Popular holiday spot at mercy of weather

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2013
Clifton Beach Reserve Motor Camp

WASHED AWAY: The sea is taking its toll at this holiday spot in Clifton, near Te Awanga, in Hawke’s Bay.

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A last-ditch effort has been launched to save a Hawke's Bay motor camp from rising seas.

More than 30 metres of Clifton Beach Reserve Motor Camp, near Te Awanga, has been lost to the sea in the past five years, along with three roads and several campsites. Now the camp's power supply is under threat.

Hastings District Council lodged a consent this month to protect the road with boulders on behalf of the Clifton Reserve Society, which runs the campsite, after realising its long-term proposal to extend the reserve and shift a threatened boat ramp would come too late.

The long-term plan could have taken up to five years to implement, but the campsite - a popular holiday spot for more than 50 years - could not wait that long, Clifton Reserve Society chairwoman Dionne Thomas said.

If the road was not protected soon, the main camp would have to close and the second site be expanded. It could also spell the end of the Clifton Marine Club building and boat launch.

People have been banned from the main campsite because of the unsafe road. Each time a wave hit, half a metre of soil was taken away, Mrs Thomas said.

The campsite's main power supply had become exposed in the past fortnight, meaning the 12 long-term residents were having to make do with intermittent power.

The next high tide could send the power pole toppling into the ocean, Mrs Thomas said. "We're at the mercy of the weather."

The regional council was awaiting more information on the proposed protection work before making a ruling.

Mrs Thomas urged the regional council to act swiftly: "The longer we wait, the more we lose, which makes the task bigger at the other end."

However, she realised the council had to follow due process. She said the cost of protection work would be about $100,000, with another $60,000 to $80,000 in consent costs. It was not yet known who would fund the project.

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- The Dominion Post

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