Sand Push-Ups and Changes to Road Access Planned for Moturoa/Rabbit Island

Thursday 12 April 2018

The damaged beachfront road at Moturoa/Rabbit Island will be removed and sand push-ups carried out as part of plans to address the aftermath of ex-Cyclone Fehi.

The storm on 1 February 2018 washed away sections of the road, destroyed all 14 beach accessways and fencing, and caused significant erosion of the beach. Pooled seawater on Rough Island has also caused large areas of grass and hundreds of trees to die.

Community Development Committee chairman Peter Canton says climate change and sea level rise will continue to pose challenges for the dynamic coastal environment at Moturoa/Rabbit Island.

“We know climate change and sea level rise is going to continue to affect our shoreline so we need to be responsive and adaptable to manage that. As well as the work that is needed now to restore the beach for continued community enjoyment, staff will report back on the environmental and cost impacts of future restoration work.”

 At a meeting on Thursday 12 April, the Tasman District Council’s Community Development Committee approved several measures to deal with the damage from Fehi, including:

  • removal of the damaged chip seal road
  • changes to the remaining road layout from one-way to two-way around the Totara, Harakeke and Manuka picnic areas
  • relocating parking areas back from the shoreline
  • sand push-ups to restore dunes once sand becomes available
  • rebuilding beach accessways
  • planting sand-binding grasses

Peter says while sand push-ups won’t prevent future erosion, they are a low-cost option to reduce shoreline retreat by repairing the beach and dunes to accelerate natural recovery.

“We can maintain public access to the beach and recreation areas on the islands, which we know are highly valued by the community, while taking a practical, cost-effective approach to managing ongoing erosion.”

The Council estimates the shoreline at Moturoa/Rabbit Island has eroded by about 8 metres since 2004 in the area of the main toilet block.