Huge waves have destroyed 50 metres of road leading into a popular Hawke's Bay camping ground.
Access to the Clifton Motor Camp near Cape Kidnappers is now reduced to one lane, which is regularly pounded by heavy easterly-driven seas.
Properties along the coast in Te Awanga and Haumoana have also taken a battering.
Motor camp manager Mal Gudgeon said two weeks of heavy seas had taken a heavy toll. "We are running out of road rapidly."
The camping ground has lost about 12 metres of land to the sea during the past two years. High seas washing in during the weekend prompted one of the five or six remaining families of permanent residents to move into Hastings.
Mr Gudgeon said he told his wife to stay in the city last night because he did not want her travelling along the camping ground road during high tide.
The Clifton Domain Board, which administers the Conservation Department-owned camping ground, tried to install a steel and concrete barrier three years ago, but was ordered by Hawke's Bay Regional Council to stop the work because it did not have a resource consent.
"I don't know what happens now. It's got to the stage where it's too big for us to fix," Mr Gudgeon said.
Domain board chairman Rex Davis said resource consent could cost up to $1 million, and the work, which would have cost $10,000 three years ago, would now cost $500,000. The future of the camp was in jeopardy because no-one was allowed to protect it. "We can't touch it. The whole coast has had a hiding this year."
Residents of Haumoana and Te Awanga met last night to discuss their options. Spokesman Keith Newman said they had formed an action committee called Walking on Water to fight for help to stop the coastal erosion threat.
Hastings District Council had proposed 13 groynes at a cost of $18m, to be paid for by about 60 property owners, or a managed retreat by helping with rezoning of any replacement land to which residents might shift their houses.
"People are offended by those two options. This is a Hawke's Bay problem," Mr Newman said.
Council resource group manager Mike Maguire said the sea had taken 1.5 metres of the camping ground road during the past two days. "Council has previously suggested to the society that it needs to explore options for alternative access."
The council told the camp's seven residents not to use the road last night. It will reassess it today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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