Fuseworks Media

Collaborative future for Motunau Beach community

The Coastal Adaptation Plan (CAP) for the Motunau Beach community sets out an adaptive pathway plan to help them prepare for sea level rise over the next 100 years.

The Motunau CAP which was adopted by Council today is the third one released in Hurunui under the Coastal Conversations project, which began in 2020.

The project has involved a four-year community-focussed conversation between Hurunui District Council (HDC) and the Motunau Beach community, with valuable information provided by coastal scientists from the engineering firm Jacobs.

Sharing information about how increasing coastal hazards would impact the settlement, discussing possible solutions, and listening to community feedback and local knowledge has been the foundation the project. Alongside this, the collaboration with scientists has been instrumental in understanding the changing coastal hazards for those living along Hurunui’s coastline.

Council’s Chief Strategy and Community Officer Judith Batchelor said the collaborative approach of the CAP has meant the Motunau Beach has had the ability to create a plan enabling them to act and adapt to their coastal environment.

The draft CAP was released in November 2023, identifying a range of options for the Motunau Beach community to consider for reducing or limiting the risk of coastal inundation, rising groundwater levels and coastal erosion.

“Each coastal community in Hurunui has unique values that need to be taken into account when developing adaptive planning approaches.”

Adaptive pathway options in the CAP for Motunau Beach include a wave trip wall, extending the river training wall, and dune planting at Sandy Bay.

“There is uncertainty around time frames and severity of coastal hazards forcoastal communities, so adaptive planning leaves pathways open and allowsflexibility,” said Batchelor.

East Ward Councillor Fiona Harris remarked on the good level ofunderstanding and engagement amongst Motunau Beach residents over thecourse of the project, and their comprehensive grasp on the importance ofadaptive planning. 

“The community appreciated the CAP is not set in stone, and as long as wehave a plan, there is opportunity for funding to sit alongside that.” 

Mayor Marie Black said the Coastal Conversations project has allowedcommunities to take ownership of their own response to coastal hazards,which gives effect to the Council’s strategic objective of supportingcommunities to develop and shape their own direction.

“We’ve been in this journey for a while now, it’s important to have thiscommitment with and for our communities.” 

The other Coastal Communities in Hurunui District which have been part ofthe Coastal Conversations project are Amberley Beach, Leithfield Beach,Gore Bay and Conway Flat/Claverley.”



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