International
JOHN COWPLAND / STUFF

NZ - Seawall to protect homes won't go ahead this year after two of 18 residents refused to fund it

Plans for a seawall that would have protected 18 properties from coastal erosion will not progress after owners of two of the properties chose not to contribute to the cost.

The properties in question are those at Haumoana, Hawke’s Bay, and are among the country’s most at-risk from the impact of climate change.

Over recent decades there have been various works and proposals to protect the properties. Some owners have spent a small fortune on large, legal, defences to protect their largest asset. Others built illegal walls and spent years in legal battles with councils. Others left their properties and houses to be taken, gradually, by the sea.

In the past few years the owners of the remaining 18 properties, known as ‘the H18’ have worked together on a solution to protect all the properties. They were assisted by Hastings District Council, which has an interest in protecting this bit of coast as it owns roads and water assets that are at risk.

After much research and consultation the council decided the best solution would be a Westlock Wall. This is a wall using a unique interlocking concrete block system designed by Westlock Concrete Solutions Ltd.

The cost of investigating, designing and consenting the wall is put at $460,000 plus GST.

The council decided that the public/private benefit split was 85/15 in favour of the property owners, meaning they would pay 85 per cent of the cost, and the council the other 15 per cent.

The property owners would be able to pay their share over a period of up to five years through a targeted rate.

The property owners wanted a unanimous agreement before committing to the project. In order to get the council funding in the 2022/23 financial year they would need all 18 owners to agree.

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