Surf group threatens court action
A focus group meeting will be held tomorrow for authorities to inform key stakeholders of the plans for works at the Mangamaunu surf break.
The New Zealand Transport Agency and KiwiRail will meet representatives from Runanga, regional and district council, coastal marine guardians, surf protection society and board riders association where they plan to ‘‘inform the design, location and footprint of works’’.
The meeting is part of an attempt to keep stakeholders involved in the process, which has thus far drawn criticism for lacking any public consultation.
NZTA earthquake recovery manager Tim Crow and KiwiRail earthquake recovery manager Walter Rushbrook said in the letter sent to stakeholders that they were ‘‘acutely aware of the sensitive and significant nature of this area’’.
‘‘We consider that the input of stakeholders is a critical step in working towards balanced design decisions at this site.’’
However Annie Bermingham of the Surfbreak Protection Society said the focus group meeting fell well short of what the community deserved.
‘‘A two-and-a-half hour meeting on May 10 followed by a public meeting in June to ‘‘tell’’ people what NCTIR is doing is absolutely no replacement for an RMA process and is completely unacceptable when an iconic and internationally regarded surfbreak and bay is at risk.
‘‘SPS believes public consultation and thorough assessments through the RMA are required as an absolute baseline for this nationally significant surfbreak and to do anything other than this is reckless.’’
A Notice of Intention to challenge the consents for the works, which were approved without the need for public consultation, has been sent to both councils, NZTA and KiwiRail, outlining the society’s intention to chal- lenge the consents’ validity.
Bermingham said she was disappointed with transport minister Phil Twyford for accepting the works were consistent with earthquake restoration works after NZTA assured him the use of powers was consistent with the special earthquake powers.
‘‘The SPS is clear about what is planned and as long as there is a push to build a hard structure and sea wall in the bay through the emergency legislation, this will end up in court.’’
An aerial view of the work on the Main North Line at Mangamaunu, north of Kaiko¯ura.