OPINION: I can understand the port's concern over the need to maintain its security in this age of global protest, but its staff need to be careful making threats about excluding the public from Ngamotu Beach.
There were many conditions of consent set down to allow public access to this area when the Lee Breakwater was built and later when other reclamations were undertaken in the area. At the very least, new planning hearings would be required to alter them, and this I am sure would generate considerable public interest.
I see the port's dredge is currently taking hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand out of the littoral drift and dumping it out to sea. An ongoing unresolved issue that will inevitably be resurrected if the port attempts to carry out its threat will be the port's obligation to replace all the sand that it has removed from New Plymouth's foreshore over the last 100 years.
Before the port was built, there was an extensive beach all the way from Paritutu to the Huatoki River as shown in a Puki Ariki Museum photo taken in 1870.
While it has been an issue the port has managed to avoid up to now, with today's science, it would not be difficult to prove its complicity.
I would imagine that the loss of Ngamotu Beach would, at the very least, require the port to put in a sand bypass system to re-establish the missing sand along the city's entire now barren foreshore.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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