Erosion putting homes at risk

WASHED OUT: Ken Bedford is worried increased rates of erosion will threaten homes at Onaero in the coming years if nothing is done.
WASHED OUT: Ken Bedford is worried increased rates of erosion will threaten homes at Onaero in the coming years if nothing is done.

Homes at the seaside village of Onaero could be washed away if nothing is done about erosion, residents say.

The cliff face is being carved away at rates of up toeight metres a year and would soon be threatening houses, Frank Kerslake told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

"It's happening so fast, it's almost happening too fast."

"In the short term there are three homes that will be in dire straits if something is not done."

In 2001 Onaero residents made submissions asking the council for a rock wall to be installed at the western end of the beach.

"Basically they said ‘we don't think it's an issue now, we will record a trigger line that will act as an action indicator'," Kerslake said.

In places that line has been crossed by more than 4m and is now encroaching into both private and public property.

Parts of a council-built fence have been taken out and one resident has already moved their boundary fence back twice.

Clifton Community Board chairman Ken Bedford said residents in the area wanted to see the promised action being taken.

Last year a technical report into the erosion and possible interventions was commissioned by the New Plymouth District Council.

It found that within 50 years six homes would be at risk and within 100 years 14 homes would be in the ocean and another 10 at risk or being washed away.

"This indicates that the option of not installing erosion control is no longer an option," Kerslake said.

Using data from the report council officers have made several recommendations, which councillors will chose from next week.

"There are several recommendations and they will make a decision on Monday before adopting an annual plan at the end of the month," council parks manager Mark Bruhn said.

The recommendation residents are hoping for is one in which a budget of $120,00 is approved to complete design work and obtain resource consents from the Taranaki Regional Council to build a sea wall. Following this, a budget of $1.8 million be considered as part of the long term plan process.

Bedford said he hoped this would allow for remedial work to be done to stop the immediate threat and provide time to consider how best to negate detrimental erosion in years to come.

Kerslake said a rock wall installed at the eastern end of the beach 20 years ago had done its job.

He hoped Onaero residents would see another built at the western end before it was too late.

"We want a rock wall within one to two years," he said. "If we leave it any longer we will have real issues on our hands."

Taranaki Daily News