Coastal erosion and beach protection project updates

We have several action plans in place for different areas of coastline around the Coromandel.

We're lucky to have some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in New Zealand, if not the world, on the Coromandel Peninsula, that's why we've adopted an ambitious programme to work with all stakeholders to manage the effects of climate change.

Our beaches are one of the major reasons for people coming to visit and live here. But keeping them in such magnificent condition comes at a cost, given the effects of climate change, storm events and other natural processes.
In 2018, our Council adopted the Coastal Management Strategy, which sets out a range of initiatives we will be taking over the coming years to better manage our coastal assets and understand the risk of coastal inundation and coastal erosion. The 2018-2028 Long Term Plan includes $2.6 million over three years to help us implement this strategy. You can read more about our Coastal Management Strategy below.

Shoreline Management Plans

Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) are being developed to outline how each stretch of shoreline is most likely to be managed to address flood and/or erosion.

What is a Shoreline Management Plan?

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) provides a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal evolution and presents a framework to address these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner.

In doing so, an SMP is a high-level document that forms an important part of our Council's Coastal Management Strategy.

Coastal sediment movements occur within distinct boundaries, or cells, which rarely coincide with administrative boundaries. 

Piecemeal coast protection schemes may not always be compatible with coastline needs elsewhere within the same sediment cell. 

Recognising this fact, our Council decided to produce an integrated coastal 'defence' strategy or SMP wherein all the conflicting needs and constraints on the coastline are identified and considered.

A SMP policy describes how our stretch of shoreline is most likely to be managed to address flood and/or erosion,subject to conditions described below:

  • No active intervention
  • Hold the (existing defence) line 
  • Managed re-alignment (retreat)
  • Advance the line

The objectives of an SMP are:

  • To define, in general terms, the flooding and erosion risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment within the SMP area over the next century;
  • To identify the preferred framework for managing those risks;
  • To identify the consequences of implementing the preferred framework;
  • To set out procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of the SMP;
  • To inform planners, developers and others of the risks identified within the SMP and preferred SMP framework when considering future development of the shoreline and land use changes;
  • To comply with international and national nature conservation legislation and biodiversity obligations;
  • To highlight areas where knowledge gaps exist; and,
  • To provide an action plan to facilitate implementation of the SMP “policies” and monitor progress.

Currently, we are in the process of procuring internal and external resources to kick-off our journey towards a resilient community.

Data is being collated and analysed and a steering group has been established in partnership with Waikato Regional Council and in liaison with Hauraki District Council.

Over the years many investigative reports and surveys have been completed on which we want to build, i.e. we don't want to reinvent the wheel, making best use of the resources available.

The detailed holistic hazard and risk assessments will commence in earnest within the next two months for our three-year project.

Coastal project updates

We’ve been underway with several high-priority, reactive coastal projects over the last few months of 2018. Brief updates on these are provided below.

Thornton and Ngarimu Bays
The Thornton and Ngarimu Bay coastlines, damaged by erosion during the January 2018 storm, have been re-instated using sand push-ups from the beach. We are working with NZTA to explore ideas for the longevity of the Thames Coast Road in this area, and there is community interest in Thornton for improving the carpark and surrounding area ahead of this summer.  We will continue to engage with community groups with a view to finding a mutually-acceptable solution.

Thames Town Coastline
Damage occurred along our Shortland Wharf to Moanataiari walkway has been re-instated. Thames is one of the strategic locations in our District that would benefit greatly from Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) along a 'Dynamic Adaptive Pathway Planning (DAPP) action plan.

• Tararu
Recovery from the January storm continues in this community.

Works have been completed at Wilson St and are planned for Robert St to re-instate coastline damage from the storm. We have worked with the Tararu South Flood Protection Group to facilitate the repair between the two streets which has now been completed.  We continue to meet with the community as part of the SMP development. The Group is very active and has been for about 20 years, and is currently fund-raising for proposed rock revetment works on their private frontage. It is a fantastic example of how the local community, in liaison with our Council, is on the 'journey to become a resilient community' from coastal hazards.

• Flaxmill Bay and Cooks Beach
A combination of king tides and an extreme weather event in July caused significant erosion at Flaxmill Bay and Cooks Beach. Appropriate coastal protection management structures, hard and soft engineering options, are being considered. Environmental changes have raised the community’s awareness of the need for careful management of the coastline, and in particular our foreshore, a series of public drop-in meetings and workshops have been held to share information with residents.

November-December 2018: Our coastal engineer discussed options to curb beach erosion at Flaxmill Bay with approximately 40 Mercury Bay south residents. TCDC had already lodged a resource consent application with Waikato Regional Council for a rock wall that will transition to a backstop wall and, ultimately, into a soft option (dune plantings) to curb the erosion. Our Council will also be lodging an application for a trial groyne to be constructed at Flaxmill Bay, with the exact location and material to be determined.  All going to plan, construction of the rock wall/backstop wall and the groyne should start by early 2019.

November 2018 - an aerial survey was undertaken of the Thames Coast to help in management of this shoreline. We engaged a contractor to undertake drone photography in this area, using Council reserves for taking off and landing. The contractor was required to comply with all Civil Aviation Authority rules and has completed the work. Further aerial surveys for other coastlines is likely to be carried out during 2019.

June 2018: Our Council adopted its Coastal Management Strategy. You can find out more about this here