Take Care Around Unstable Sand Dunes – Patea Beach

Take Care Around Unstable Sand Dunes – Patea Beach

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The South Taranaki District Council (STDC) is urging people to stay well away from the sand dunes around the Patea Beach area because they are unstable and unsafe.

STDC engineering operations manager, Herbert Denton, says the sand dunes around Patea Beach have been experiencing very high rates of erosion caused by storm waves.

“We have put up a safety barrier and warning signs around the worst parts of the eroded dunes, but we can’t fence off the whole area so are reminding people to keep off the dunes as they are unstable and could collapse at any time,” he says.

Mr Denton says as a result of the significant erosion the nearby green waste site, which is used to stabilise the surrounding sand dunes, will also need to be temporarily closed over the coming weeks.

“Due to the extraordinary erosion the green waste is unable to do what it was designed to do, which is to stabilise the dunes by trapping windblown sand before it is dislodged,” says Mr Denton.

“Coastal Sysytems Ltd (CSL) scientist Dr Roger Shand, who manages the dune stabilisation on site for us, has recommended that for the time being we change our approach from a ‘proactive’ one - where we have been using green waste to stabilise the dunes prior to erosion and wind drifts, to a ‘reactive’ one - where we focus on stabilising erosion and wind drifts as they happen.”

“This new approach means that we won’t need much green waste and consequently, in a couple of weeks’ time we will temporarily close the green waste site at the beach,” he says.

Mr Denton says the temporary closure of the Patea green waste site will be done once an alternative green waste disposal area has been organised for Patea residents.

“We will put a skip bin down at the Patea Transfer station on Scotland Street where residents can take their green waste, free of charge, during open hours,” says Mr Denton.

“Then we will put up temporary barriers and close the existing green waste site until conditions along the beach improve,” he says. “Access to the lookout will be maintained, though over the longer term we may need to consider some alternative access points.”

Mr Denton says that while the closure of the green waste site was temporary, over the next few months, Council would also be working with Dr Shand, the Taranaki Regional Council, Iwi and the Patea Community Board to consider the long term future of the green waste site.