Sean McKinley from the Paekākāriki Community Board provides as an update from Kāpiti Coast District Council on the progress of the seawall.
On Wednesday 30 May, as Paekākāriki Community Board Chair, I was invited to attend the Paekākāriki Seawall Update briefing from Sean Mallon, Group Manager Infrastructure Services, to the Mayor and Councillors of the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
Sean Mallon provided Councillors with the background and history to the seawall project, including the various options that were on the table until now, where the present proposal (and what’s been budgeted for in the Council’s Long Term Plan) is a like-for-like timber replacement, with the area opposite Campbell Park as a special access area involving concrete walls (Accessway 4).
Accessway 4 is the first stage of the project; a 72-metre section of wall and an upgraded concrete beach access near the Memorial Hall. It was made known to us that the only tender received was roughly four times the cost of what had been earmarked for this phase and section of the project.
It was acknowledged that the process had been long and in part delayed by the actions of successive Councils and the need to consult with Paekākāriki residents. It was also noted that costs have escalated over time for various reasons, many of which were outside the control of the Council – such as construction, the cost of materials, and the factoring in of risk.
There was general agreement that the work to replace the seawall is at best a stop gap measure that will be in place for the lifespan of this particular seawall replacement and that the future of the seawall will, in the end, be determined by the impacts of seawater levels and climate change.
The Council were advised by Sean Mallon that an independent assessment of the planned special access area opposite Campbell Park had been undertaken and that proposal and the risks involved were too costly for the Council to proceed, in its current form. There were questions raised about whether the access way would be able to be constructed to withstand the impact of increasing bad weather and high tides that can strip the beach of sand up to one and a half metres in depth.
For now it was agreed by the Council that work should begin as soon as possible on replacing the seawall with a like-for-like timber wall, as budgeted for in the Long Term Plan. While this work starts, the Council have requested a review of the concrete access way opposite Campbell Park and that an alternative option be presented to Council that is not hampered by the financial and construction issues of the current option.
We will continue to follow up on this issue and have the opportunity for residents of Paekākāriki to be advised of progress and options via our regular Paekākāriki Community Board meetings and planned information days. Paekākāriki Community Board members will also have a table at the Market Day in St Peter’s Hall on Saturday 3rd of June and we look forward to having further discussions on this and other issues currently of interest in Paekākāriki.
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