August 5, 2008

Seawall Passes Key Test


URENUI residents say their popular domain has been saved by extensions to the seawall along the domain's waterfront.

In a first major test, the extensions -- which are yet to be completed -- have held out huge swells whipped up by the northerly storms of the past two weeks.

In March, the New Plymouth District Council voted to spend more than $400,000 building a 100m extension to the existing 300m sea wall at Urenui Domain after locals pleaded that the work was desperately needed before the next major storm arrived.

Now the locals are thanking their lucky stars that contractor Steve Fleming has been able to make enough progress with the extension project to hold out the sea.

"It has protected the most vulnerable part of the domain frontage from certain extensive damage," Urenui Beach monitoring committee chairman Neil Larsen said yesterday. Urenui residents were full of praise for Mr Fleming.

"He has had to battle the worst storm and high tide levels for some years. He has had to leave the job for periods when it has been impossible to carry on -- and then see his previous days' work damaged by new high tide conditions.

"But Steve has done enough to protect the domain," Mr Larsen said.

On Sunday night conditions became so bad that huge swells over- topped the sea wall and ran into a nearby public toilet block. But adjacent baches remained protected.

Further along the beach, the existing seawall continued to do its job, fully protecting Urenui golf course from being inundated with water.

Down the road, Onaero seaside resident Bill Lockhart said the high seas had tossed rocks and other debris across the road and on to the lawns of baches. "The council (NPDC) has been out three times to clear the road to make it passable," he said.


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