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Consultation details

Have your say on the draft Coastal Structures Policy

Event date: 14/10/2019 7:30 a.m. - 17/11/2019 5:00 p.m. Export event

Coastal structures are any man-made building, equipment, device or other facility fixed to land along the coast. They include hard protection structures such as seawalls and groynes, and structures with recreational benefits like jetties and boat ramps. The coastal structures policy guides council’s decisions on managing and maintaining public coastal structures on public land. 

We’re reviewing the policy to ensure decisions about maintaining public seawalls, rock revetments and other coastal structures consider the needs of future communities, including the potential impact of climate change, as directed by the Local Government Act 2002.

Below you’ll find some background info, a summary of the changes we’re proposing and why, the full draft policy and a link to have your say. 

Statement of proposal (69kb pdf) Draft Coastal Structures Policy (95kb pdf)

The feedback period closed on 17 November 2019 at 5:00pm.

We’ll use your feedback to propose a final revised policy for adoption by Council. This will likely be in early 2020. If you have any questions, please contact the Policy team on 07 577 7000 or emma.joyce@tauranga.govt.nz 

What’s a coastal structure? Some examples

Hard protection structures

Example of seawall/rock revetmentExample of groyne/breakwater

Picture 1: seawall/rock revetment; Picture 2: groyne/breakwater

Other structures

Example of jetty/pier with pontoonExample of wharf

Picture 1: jetty/pier with pontoon; Picture 2: wharf;

Example of boat ramp

Picture 3: boat ramp

Why we’re updating the policy

Tauranga City Council first adopted a policy on coastal structures in 2006 in response to a regional council requirement for all structures in the coastal area to have a consent. We then identified which seawalls, groynes, jetties, and other structures council owned and would continue to maintain or renew. The current policy includes criteria for determining when council will build, maintain or renew a coastal structure, but it doesn’t say when a coastal structure should be removed. This policy has not been reviewed since 2006.

Now, in 2019, councils around New Zealand need to consider the needs of future communities, including the potential impact of climate change, when making decisions about how they manage their assets. This is a requirement of the Local Government Act.

We’re proposing some changes to the policy to reflect this, and to better guide council in prioritising the annual budget to manage coastal structures. This review is also the opportunity to consider council’s role in protecting private land from erosion, particularly if it requires a structure to be erected on council land. 

Key proposed changes, and why we want to make them

Proposed change: Clarify that the purpose of a hard protection structure is to protect a council activity and is not insurance against sea level rise.
Why: The current policy does not state the purpose of a hard protection structure.

Proposed change: Establish that we will first consider the significance of the activity that the structure protects (if any) when we’re deciding whether to remove, install, maintain or renew a coastal structure.
Why: The current policy treats all structures equally. 

The proposed change will allow Council to prioritise the maintenance and renewal of structures that protect essential public assets like water and wastewater pipes, essential roads, and reserves that provide public access around the coast. 

This means we may decide not to maintain structures protecting small esplanade reserves with limited or no public access. This could also apply to structures protecting roads that are not essential for the long-term functioning of the transport network.

Proposed change: Require consideration of managed retreat (moving the activity) as an alternative to hard protection structures such as seawalls and rock revetments.
Why: Hard protection structures are not the only solution to protect public assets/activities from erosion. The current policy says we should consider soft protection (planting, or beach replenishment) as an alternative. Including managed retreat provides an additional option to consider so we can ensure the activity can continue.

Proposed change: Give council the ability to stop maintaining or to remove council-owned coastal structures that are at risk due to erosion.
Why: To assign the budget where it will be most effective in the long run. Before making this kind of decision, council would need to consider the likelihood of coastal effects impacting the structure, and the significance of the activity it protects. For example, a jetty which is likely to be repeatedly damaged by weather events, may be considered a low priority for maintenance and/or a candidate for removal.

Proposed change: Enable landowners to take over the ownership and responsibility to maintain a public protection structure that council has decided not to maintain, to protect their private property. 
Why: Council does not currently build or maintain structures where the main benefit is to protect private or commercial interests and this part of the policy will remain unchanged. Council also has no responsibility to protect properties that are adjacent to council-owned sites from erosion. However, we recognise that private landowners may wish to take steps of their own to protect their properties from the risk of erosion, and that’s why we’re proposing this change.

Proposed change: Allow, under conditions, landowners to build new hard protection structures on council-owned land to protect their private property (subject to obtaining consents and permission).
Why: as above

Have your say now

The feedback period closed on 17 November 2019 at 5:00pm.

Posted: Oct 9, 2019,
Categories: Consultation, ,

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