Cedric Trounson / LDR

NZ - West Coast council accused of causing coastal erosion

West Coast Regional Council has been accused of causing coastal erosion by allowing big companies to take too much gravel from riverbeds.

October 31, 2016

Retired Grey District Council harbour supervisor Cedric Trounson took the council to task at its public forum this month.

Gravel extraction from Grey River was starving Cobden beach of the gravel it needed to protect the foreshore, and was making it even more vulnerable to storms, he said.

Trounson told the Greymouth Star he based his claim on observing the river and the foreshore over 17 years, doing surveys and taking soundings of the Greymouth bar at times on a weekly basis, for the district council.

"Gravels transported down the river bed at times of high flow move across the bar and out to sea and are then carried into shore ... when the beach is starved of gravels, coastal erosion takes place."

A NIWA report in 2017 warned that gravel extraction could contribute to coastal erosion.

West Coast Regional Council itself had commissioned the report after the Department of Conservation raised concerns about the problem, in submissions on the council's proposed coastal plan.

The council remained the prime offender in failing to protect the dynamic ecosystem for which it was responsible, Trounson said.

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