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Changing mood . . .  A resident surveys Amberley Beach during a southerly storm. Photo: File

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Hurunui coastal communities will be the champions of the coastal hazard and erosion process, says Hurunui Mayor Marie Black.

The council will work alongside them to help co-design a way forward to help those most at risk from coastal hazards, such as erosion and inundation, she says.

“While the council can hold the pen on this, it is important the communities drive the decision-making.

“It is their coastline,” she says.

The council has held five meetings over the last two weeks to discuss the changing coastal environment.

A report prepared by consultancy firm Jacobs was presented which set out potential scenarios over the next 35, 50 and 100 years. More than 140 people attended, with the vibe generally positi

ve and inquisitive.

Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie said the scientific presentation from Jacobs was only part of the story, and the council needed to hear from local experts to build a full picture of the changing coastal environment.

The Jacobs report says Amberley Beach, Motunau and Gore Bay settlements are most at risk from coastal erosion hazards because of the proximity of the settlementsto the shoreline.

The most at-risk critical infrastructure from coastal erosion was assessed as the coastal segments of road at Amberley Beach (Golf Links Road), Conway Flat (Conway Flat Road) and Claverley (Claverley Road).

Sections of all these roads, plus sections of Cathedral Road and Gore Bay Road in Gore Bay, are projected to be affected by erosion within 30 years.

Properties and houses at Leithfield Beach and Amberley Beach are deemed most at risk from coastal inundation.

The next step will be a series of drop-in sessions in November to learn from locals about what has happened at beach communities and how they see steps being taken to protect them.

The council emphasised that one size will not fit all, and any approach needed to reflect the character of each area.

The final stages will involve identifying and assessing a range of options to help adapt to the changing coastline.

From here, the council hopes to identify a preferred way forward, and trigger points will be identified to ensure they are ready to be implemented before the status quo is no longer acceptable.