Parts of town could be lost to seas

Parts of Castlecliff and the city's airport could be lost to the sea without repairs to lower Whanganui River structures including both the North and South moles.

By Simon Waters

Parts of Castlecliff and the city's airport could be lost to the sea unless repairs are done to lower Whanganui River structures including the north and south moles.

The city's airport, harbour, Wharf St boat ramp and parts of Castlecliff are at risk, the Whanganui District Council's infrastructure and special projects committee heard today.

"Seafront Rd would again truly be Seafront Rd and the Castlecliff playground would be more of an aquatic park," manager Rowan McGregor reported.

Councillor Rob Vinsen went further: "The safety, the very existence of Castlecliff, is at risk."

Repairs of about $16.5 million are needed.

"The infrastructure has not been maintained since the 1960s and is now showing clear signs of escalating deterioration," McGregor said.

The question quickly became: who pays?

Councillors agreed the Horizons Regional Councilshould contribute, although McGregor noted "they're not overly keen to pay".

"Either way it's not much fun for ratepayers which letterhead the bill comes in on,"

he said.

Vinsen said it was time to take the issue to the Minister of State Services for a ruling on Horizon's obligations.

"We have been talking for years to Horizons. It's their mandated role. We need to get tougher about this," Vinsen said.

Philippa Baker-Hogan agreed and said more discussions with Horizons would be a "talkfest for the next decade".

McGregor said the council was unaware of the state of the various structures until 2010 when it took back ownership.

A new report from port engineers Tonkin and Taylor highlights 15 items that need repair, including five, worth $750,000, that require immediate attention.

The most expensive work was needed on the north and south moles at a cost of $13 million and had to be done within five to 10 years.

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11:49 am Wednesday 22 March 2017
what a load of cobs-wob!!!, both polar caps would have to melt first!!, another hair-brained idea to extract cash for nothing!!, build the ''PORT'' first!!, them progress!!

- Whanganui
08:44 am Wednesday 22 March 2017
There is no telling who pays, or how much, until you establish ownership. You can be sure it will be ratepayers, but because of the extortion inherent in our political system, the burden will be excessive, as any subsidy is destined to fall unfairly, which means it could be under or over-capitalised according, or under-utilised. Its a false economy all-round.
I'm wondering if iwi should pay? Isn't this part of the foreshore? I'd not blame them if they snubbed that albatross.


08:44 am Wednesday 22 March 2017
The fact of the matter is that this is just the beginning of what is going to repeated in many, many, many towns, cities and coastal areas around New Zealand.
Climate change, for whatever cause, is here. This is going to result in rising sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns with changes in river flows giving us many changes in so called habitable areas today.
It is time for the Government to undertake a multi year , no a multi decade, study of how NZ will change with the rising sea. If not, then the insurance industry will be obliged to make some drastic alterations to our property insurance market, all based on some scanty information and guesses.
A lot of our highly priced, and prized, coastal properties will be worth very little in the future. I personally would not buy anything right on the waterfront, sea or river, or anywhere remotely in a flood plain. Councils should consider these effects seriously when considering their infrastructure.
Cheers, Alex.


- Devonport
08:43 am Wednesday 22 March 2017
Sue the river: As a legal person, s/he is liable for any erosion damage caused!


08:43 am Wednesday 22 March 2017
Comes from Rotoaira that awa. The proper name is Ruatipua if you start at Rotoaira. Otherwise some from near the end of the awa call it Awatipua. That's a mistake that comes with a price.


- Auckland
10:01 am Tuesday 21 March 2017
....."Seafront Road would again truly be Seafront Road"....
I remember when that was the case, and it was quite wonderful. Our family lived on Seafront Road beside the camping ground, and I remember regularly seeing the beautiful sunsets over the horizon from our front window. There were no high sandhills to speak of between the street and the foreshore. I had started school about that time so it would have been 1942, not long after the Pearl Harbour attack. We had compulsory blackouts so we would completely cover the front windows before switching on lights inside to prevent the Japanese from locating us. True. There were even wardens who patrolled the streets looking for lighting leaks. Further down towards the north mole parts of the wreck of the Port Bowen were still rusting away and there was a little railway to it.

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