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Milford rocks dumping set for sign-off

Flagstaff Team

Rocks dumped illegally on Milford Beach prompting community anger last year may remain there for good.

One of four Holiday Rd homeowners issued an abatement notice over the dumping has applied for a retrospective resource consent for the property’s existing seawall.

The application to Auckland Council also seeks permission to fence off a section of the beach containing loose rocks to be dug up and moved back to allow for the seawall to be built up over several days to make it less steep. But, due to the vagaries of weather and tides, consent is sought to have an orange mesh fence in place to allow work on up to five designated days.

“The [initial] work was motivated by the applicant commencing some repair work to the wall without resource consent,” the application stated.

What resulted was an outcry in early June 2020, after a contractor drove a truck onto the beach and upended the rocks, leaving them scattered down the sand in a way that impeded walkers getting down the beach at high tide.

Politicians immediately talked tough and the council issued abatement notices on the four adjoining properties which had intended to use the rocks to bolster their beachfront defences against erosion and tidal surges. Instead, the rocks remained in place, with the council several times over several months telling the Observer it had extended deadlines for removal.

The official stance appeared to shift from one of taking action to seeking a negotiated outcome after legal letters were exchanged.

By October, the council’s manager of regulatory compliance, Steve Pearce, responded to another Observer inquiry ahead of the busy summer beach season, by saying rocks from all bar one of the properties had been moved. That property, at 7a Holiday Rd, had lodged a consent application for placement of the rocks, he said.

The latest consent documents for that address, in the name of J and B Wallace, were lodged in March, and detail that an earlier similar consent application had been queried by the council as to whether the design originally submitted minimised the wall footprint as much as possible.

A meeting with the council’s coastal specialist staff was held on site and an “updated and agreed design” was submitted. This details how further construction is to be done and its boundaries. Surplus rocks would be removed.

The original wall dates to the 1960s. Land title extends beyond it.

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