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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Dunedin from signal hill..

St Clair Seawall Updates

Ocean Beach update - 24 August 2018

Some repair work will be done on the St Clair Beach sand sausages, starting on Monday 27 August. The work will be done between 7am and 6pm, and is expected to take three to five days.

Heavy machinery will be used and access to the beach will not be available down the ramp. People will be able to get to the beach by coming along the top of the sand sausages.

The work will involve clearing large rocks and debris from the sand sausages and repositioning any bags that were shifted during winter storms. Large posts will be driven into the sand against the lowest sandbags to stabilise them and secure them to the main structure.

Maintenance of the sand sausage structure is important because it protects the inland sand bank and allows people to access the beach at all stages of the tide. The work will also improve access to the track above the sand sausages and protect the rocks.

Ocean Beach update – 16 August 2018

Some minor repairs are being done to the ramp onto the beach at the north end of the St Clair Esplanade, following damage caused by king tides.

The work will include some tidying up and addition of more rocks to protect the edges of the ramp. Disruption will be minimised as much as possible. People will still be able to access the beach, but will be directed around the worksite.

Ocean Beach update – 29 May 2018

Two test posts have been installed in front of one of the small sand bags.

Posts will be installed along the affected section of the sand sausage wall once the bags that shifted have been lifted and repositioned. It is expected that more than 20 posts will be needed – these are likely to be longer than the test posts.

Ocean Beach update - 25 May 2018

Work is being done at St Clair following recent high tides and storms, which reduced sand levels and shifted some of the small bags at the base of the sand sausage wall.

The small bags stop water getting under the main wall and undermining the large bags. Five of the small bags shifted recently, but the large bags are stable and continue to protect the dune.

Sand was dumped on the sand sausages twice this week to provide a short-term buffer and experts are advising on more substantial work to be done over coming weeks. This is likely to involve removing sharp debris from around the bags and repositioning the bags that shifted. The way the small bags are secured to the main wall will be adapted and posts will probably be used to hold them in place along the most vulnerable section of the wall.

As a temporary structure in a natural environment that’s subject to strong wind and waves, the sand sausages need regular maintenance like this to keep them working well. The area is monitored frequently and maintained as needed – more work is usually needed in winter due to the weather.

Rocks along the wall below the St Clair Esplanade have also been repositioned recently to provide greater protection from waves.

Dune work to protect coast - 20 March 2018

A series of notches is being cut along the sand dunes below John Wilson Drive to encourage natural growth of the dunes and reduce the impact of erosion.

The notches will make it easier for the wind to blow sand to the back of the dunes, allowing them to grow over time and become more resilient to erosion caused by storms and rising seas. Vegetation will grow on the new sand over time.

People will be able to walk through some of the notches to get to the beach more easily. Less accessible notches may provide spaces for New Zealand sea lions to rest.

The project follows a small scale trial in 2016 that successfully built up dunes. The DCC is developing a monitoring programme with the University of Otago.

The work will protect the area while longer term strategies for managing coastal erosion in Dunedin are developed.

Dozens of notches will be cut at 10-15 metre intervals between the St Kilda Surf Lifesaving Club and Lawyers Head. The notches will be 1.5-2 metres wide and 1-2 metres deep. Spotters will be on the beach and at access points to let people know where the excavator is working.

The work is expected to take about a week starting on Wednesday, 21 March (weather permitting) and to cost around $4000.

Ocean Beach maintenance - 18 December 2017

The Dunedin City Council will be doing some work to reshape access to Ocean Beach this week. High tides over winter caused some sand erosion at the ramp that runs from the north end of the St Clair Esplanade down to the beach, and also at the far end of the sand sausages.

Diggers will be on the beach to tidy up these areas on Tuesday. The work will improve access to the beach and make it easier to launch surf lifesaving boats.

People will be able to access the beach down the stairs at low tide and further along the beach at high tide. Spotters will be on site to provide directions and keep the worksite clear.

Esplanade spring clean – 6 October 2017

Work to refresh and maintain the St Clair Esplanade will be done over coming weeks.

Some core holes will be drilled in the sea wall next week to make sure the wall is in good shape and sand is being retained effectively. The monitoring will ensure any gaps are located and filled early to maintain the wall’s condition and prevent issues such as slumping.

Core holes will be drilled in the sea wall panels and a camera inserted to check for gaps. If any gaps are found, they will be grouted. Work will be focused on the north end of the sea wall and will be monitored by marine engineering experts. The work will not affect access to the beach.

The stairs will be waterblasted before the end of October to remove any slip hazards. Maintenance on the handrails is scheduled for November.

The planter boxes and garden beds along the Esplanade will be re-planted around the end of October. The memorial plaque to three surfers killed by sharks will be cleaned and we are investigating the option of lifting it off the ground.

Installation of the Victoria-Forbury roundabout is also underway.

Ocean Beach maintenance – 11 April 2017

Sand is being delivered to Ocean Beach as part of ongoing maintenance. The sand, which has been dredged from the Otago Harbour, is being placed in front of the sand sausages.

The deliveries are happening from Monday from 27 March for about six weeks. The sand is being placed in front of the sand sausages to protect them from heavy seas.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 10 August

Ocean Beach has just been opened to the public.

The Dunedin City Council has received some reports of debris from the old structure washing up on beaches in the Peninsula area this week.

DCC Asset and Commercial Manager Tom Dyer says the contractors have been notified, and collected the debris. They will check the beach for more debris periodically over the next few weeks.

Mr Dyer thanks Taskforce Green and volunteers, who collected some additional debris today.

The DCC encourages beachgoers to let us know if they find any debris. Call us on (03) 477 4000 and we will send someone to pick it up.

Ocean Beach dune work - update 05 August

Work to install sand sausages along about 200m of Ocean Beach dunes is complete.

Dunedin City Council Asset and Commercial Manager Tom Dyer says the new sand sausage structure is now in place and performing its intended coastal protection function.

"There is some additional minor cosmetic and safety work that has been added into the contract which will be completed next week. Until then, access at the St Clair end of the beach will remain closed, but it is pleasing to see the protection work finished."

Mr Dyer says contractor Downer and sub-contractor Hall Brothers have made a good job of the protection work in an often challenging environment.

The work was to protect the dunes from erosion in heavy seas after the previous ageing sand sausages were damaged during last year's winter storms.Mr Dyer says that the DCC will be reviewing options for the long term management of the Ocean Beach sand dunes and St Clair sea wall over the next 12 months.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 27 July

The timeframe for completing the Ocean Beach remedial work has been pushed back slightly due to an overfilled sand bag and some challenging ground conditions. It is now expected work will be finished on 5 August.

A technical mistake resulted in the overfilled sand bag. The bag has been removed and the contractor is fixing the problem promptly at its own cost.

As a replacement bag has to come from Australia, the finish date for the remedial work has been pushed back a week from the end of July.

Overall the remedial work has gone well and 90% of the structure is now complete.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 5 July

The DCC advises that the access ramp from St Clair esplanade to the beach will be closed temporarily until further notice.

The reason for the closure is due to the ongoing work in the area to install new sand sausages along about 200m of Ocean Beach dunes to protect them from erosion in heavy seas.

The closure is expected to last for the remainder of July.

Fencing and signage is being installed to inform beach users.

Access points further down the beach at St Kilda will remain open.

The DCC apologises to beach users for any inconvenience caused.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 28 June

The sand sausage structure is beginning to take shape at Ocean Beach as contractors gather momentum. A portion of the eastern section has now been completed with substantial westward progress anticipated over the next two weeks. Backfilling behind the structure will also take place over that time.

The photos shows the bag filling process. A specialised pump collects a sand and water mix, and forces it into the geobag. The water then passes through the bag leaving the only sand within the bag.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 17 June

After working through site establishment and testing contractors have successfully completed the filling of two large geobags. It is expected that good progress will be made in the coming week as work on the remaining eight bags gets underway.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 8 June

A water supply line to enable the bag filling process has been installed and is running well. DCC asks that swimmers and surfers stay well clear of the intake which is marked with orange buoys.

Contractors have begun filling "toe bags" (pictured below) which, at 4 tonne each, are the smallest of the bags being put in place and provide a flexible seaward barrier for the overall sand sausage structure.

The contractor has also begun filling the first 20m section of the largest geobags – which are made of a much thicker material than the bags they replace.

The weather forecast is favourable for good progress over the next 10 days.

Ocean Beach dune work - update 3 June

In order to catch up on time lost due to inclement weather, contractors will be working on the Ocean Beach sand sausages this Saturday 4 June.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 30 May

Contractors plan to start work on the sand sausages on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Rough weather at sea has delayed the dropping of an anchor needed to set up an intake pipe and pump to provide water for the bag filling process. Following a successful anchor drop, ground preparation will start at the eastern (St Kilda) end of the beach.

All the geofabric material for the bags is now on site. The material is much thicker than the bags they replace.

This week, high tides fall between 10am and 3pm, which limits the amount of work which can be done on site. The situation improves next week when the high tides fall at the start and end of the day.

Access to the area will be restricted at times for safety reasons. People are asked to please stay clear of restricted areas which are will be marked by tape or fencing. We also ask that dog owners pay close attention to their animals when near the work area.

Ocean Beach dune work – update 24 May

Work to install sand sausages along about 200m of Ocean Beach dunes started today.

A slight delay in the manufacture of the larger geobags in Australia, and working with contractor Downer on the best way to manage risks associated with tide and storm conditions, means the work is now programmed to be completed in July, rather than in June.

This timeframe, is weather dependent, and depending on conditions may be completed earlier than currently expected.

The first excavator arrived on site this afternoon. The first step is establishing beach access and other site setup work. Work on the sand sausages will begin early next week.

The work is to protect the dunes from erosion in heavy seas after the existing ageing sand sausages were damaged during last year’s winter storms.

Dunedin City Council Asset and Commercial Manager Tom Dyer says the project will see new sand sausages placed along the base of the narrowest stretches of dune.

The work will provide protection to the dunes as well as Victoria Road properties which back on to this area. Tonkin Taylor will provide technical support for the project while OCTA is handling the project management.

Port Otago is supplying sand for the work, which is being stockpiled at the southern end of Kettle Park adjacent to the St Clair Tennis Club, so the DCC is asking the public to stay clear of this area.

In the interests of safety, there may be times when public access to the beach is limited but every effort will be made to keep these to a minimum. Signs will be put up on the beach and on the temporary ramp at St Clair to let beach users know when it is closed. Access points further down the beach at St Kilda will remain open.

Mr Dyer says the DCC is also asking surfers and swimmers to avoid the area if possible.

31 August 2015

Work to rebuild the temporary ramp at St Clair Beach is scheduled to start early this week.

The work will ensure the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club and the public have access to the beach. It will also provide access for equipment when future remedial work on the sand dunes is carried out.

A temporary ramp at the north end of the promenade was put in place in October 2013 after the original ramp was removed following storm damage. The temporary ramp has been damaged by recent heavy seas and high tides.

The exact starting date for the work will depend on the tides. The repair work will take three to four days.

Rebuilding the temporary ramp will provide access so remedial work can be carried out to protect the dunes from further erosion. The planned work includes repairing or replacing damaged sand sausages before next winter.

In the meantime, protection work at the ‘toe’ of the seawall will continue, as will dune reinstatement work, using sand dredged from the Otago Harbour.

Following the remedial works, the DCC will begin investigating options for long term protection of the area of Ocean Beach adjacent to the St Clair seawall.

Community feedback will be sought at key stages of the overall project.

17 June 2015

Recent high seas have loosened several sections of the St Clair seawall ramps/steps. These have been removed as they posed a danger to the wall itself and to the observation platform. The present sand levels at the wall remain a concern as work continues to shore up sections of the toe. At the north end of the esplanade, the lower section of the boat ramp has been destroyed by high seas.

Beach access is restricted, with the lack of sand exposing a bed of rocks. The track closure at St Clair has been extended due to further erosion and high swells. The track is closed from the St Clair Esplanade, just past the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club, through to the Kettle Park sportsground. For safety reasons, we have also closed off all other beach entrance points from St Clair through to Lawyers Head. If you do need access to the beach, the only safe entrance to use is by the St Kilda Surf Club. Please be aware of high tides and surf conditions before accessing the beach.

29 May 2015

With the high seas over the last week the lower section of the pedestrian ramp has broken away and was floating free of its foundation and presenting a threat to the wall panels, so the decision was made on Friday to remove this section as soon as was possible. This ramp has been closed off for over two years and the contract to remove this and other sets of stairs should be out within the next few months.

15 August 2014

Another slump has developed in the St Clair promenade area near what was the Surf Lifesaving Club ramp  and has grown slightly over night. The immediate area has been fenced off and the walkway along the sand dunes has also been cordoned off.

One of our contractors is on site and, with low tide expected at around 1pm today, will open up spaces around the ramp for inspection.  The last sand survey was completed on Tuesday 12 August and another will be undertaken today.

We are expecting high tides for the next couple of days.

9 June 2014

Contractors finished placing 200 tonnes of rock on St Clair Beach on Saturday morning  in their ongoing effort to maintain and protect the toe of the seawall panels. Depositing the new rock is part of the general maintenance of the seawall, as the DCC tries to prevent the need for future emergency work.

4 June 2014

Seawall 'Toe' Protection Work Underway

Some 250 – 300 tonnes of rock will be deposited on St Clair Beach this week to maintain and protect the 'toe' of the seawall panels.

From today until Saturday, trucks will be accessing the St Clair promenade and an excavator will be on the beach placing the rocks along the wall during low tide.

Last week Fulton Hogan staff removed the last section of the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club's former access ramp, as it appeared to have been contributing to significant sand depletion around the seawall in that area.

Dunedin City Council Roading Maintenance Engineer Peter Standring says, "We have been monitoring sand levels at the seawall base over the past year. We noticed the ramp was creating turbulence and its removal revealed that some rock protection had been washed away and eroded.

"Depositing the new rock is part of the general maintenance of the seawall, preventing the need for emergency work down the track.

"This type of maintenance is 'par for the course' for the foreseeable future. We can expect ongoing seawall monitoring and maintenance, which more than likely will involve getting on to the beach every six months with a digger, and may involve rock work."

As with last week's ramp removal, an area of the beach will be cordoned off at times to enable machinery to be brought on to the site safely. Barriers will also be installed on a section of the promenade to ensure the safety of both contractors and the public.

There is no indication there is any further risk to the sea wall at this point and it is expected that, as has occurred in the past, the sand will return when the season and currents change.

30 May 2014

Low sand levels prompt action

4 December 2013

A public forum was held on Wednesday, 27 November to provide an update on the St Clair beach and seawall work.

6 November 2013

Work on the temporary ramp was completed by 25 October, just in time for the White Island event during Labour Weekend. The St Clair Surf Life Saving Club's IRB now has access to the beach via this new ramp from the north end of the promenade. The ramp also provides public access to and from the beach, via the existing walking track.

The structural assessment of the seawall has been completed. As a result, several sections of the wall will be repaired before the end of the year. The northern section of the promenade will be closed at times over the next few weeks while contractors replace the pavers and re-install the street furniture.

Opus staff have been reviewing information on the seawall and beach and will report back to DCC staff at the end of this week. It is hoped a public meeting can be held this month to provide an update on their work.

23 October 2013

Work starts at the beach today to install a temporary ramp to provide rescue boat access for the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club.

It is still hoped the ramp and most of the promenade area will be open for the long weekend. The northern section of the promenade will be closed again early next month so the paving can be put back in place.

16 October 2013

Construction of a temporary ramp to provide rescue boat access for the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club will begin next week.

The original ramp was removed following storm damage. The replacement ramp will be installed to the north of the existing wall, near the walking track. The track will be widened, but beach users are asked to use other access points while the ramp is being constructed, which is due to be completed by 26 October.

Over the last week DCC contractors have placed more rock on the beach to further protect the toe of the wall against high seas and to limit sand depletion.

Opus consultants have been reviewing information on the St Clair seawall and beach and will report back to DCC staff at the end of this week. A public meeting is planned for early November to provide an update on this work. Contact will be made with interested parties and a meeting date will be published on this page.

25 September 2013

The DCC plans to have alternative boat access to the beach in place for the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club by late October. The ramp was removed following storm damage and ongoing discussions are being held with the Surf Club about alternative options.

The area of the Esplanade where holes appeared remains exposed so engineering inspections can take place, but the promenade pavers should be reinstated by the end of October.

The consultants are expected to finish their review of available information by mid to late October. To complete the information gathering phase, Opus will meet with previous consultants to glean any extra information related to the beach frontage and marine environment.

The report back to Council will identify any extra information that is needed before long-term options for the protection of the beach and seawall can be developed.

The first public forum will take place shortly after this reporting. Contact will be made with interested parties and a meeting date will be published on this page.

17 September 2013

Opus structural engineers and a contractor visited the seawall site by the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club on 11 September to discuss options for beach access for the Surf Club. There are some viable options available, but no final decisions have been made.

Opus and DHI are continuing to review background documents and reports. At this stage they have reviewed about half the material. The DCC is still receiving public submissions, and it is likely DCC and Opus staff will meet this week to discuss all the submissions received. These will be reviewed as part of work leading up to developing options for the long-term protection of the seawall and beach amenity.

The first formal meeting between the DCC and those that put their names forward to be part of a community liaison group is planned for the end of September.

6 September 2013

DCC staff met with Opus structural engineers and members of the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club on Friday 30 August to consider options for beach access for the Surf Club. Opus are reviewing the options put forward, but no final decision has been made on a preferred option, or options, at this stage. The DCC is still intending to provide suitable access for the Surf Club as soon as practical.

Fulton Hogan removed a set of stairs opposite the end of Beach Street (near Pier 24) on 29 August. This particular set of stairs was already blocked off. The connection at the top of the stairs had become badly fractured and unstable and so the stairs needed to be removed for safety reasons.

Opus and DHI are steadily working their way through the large number of background documents and reports. Opus are also making note of the submissions that are being received via the DCC website. The submissions received to date have been very constructive and have provided valuable local knowledge.

The details around forming a community liaison group are being worked through. The liaison group will be set up in time to be involved in any key decision-making or option discussions on the seawall.

29 August 2013

A wide range of views and ideas were presented at the St Clair seawall public forum held in Dunedin last night.

About 150 people attended the meeting at the Forbury Park Raceway Hall, which was chaired by Cr Andrew Noone. DCC staff and representatives from Opus International Consultants Ltd were also present.

Those at the meeting asked for a community liaison group to be set up and the DCC is progressing this issue.

DCC staff explained St Clair Beach is a complex and challenging environment so expert advice is being sought from Opus, supported by DHI New Zealand. The consultants' initial brief is to assess, understand and report on the existing marine environment and the challenges that need to be addressed along the sea frontage. It will only be after we understand these dynamics that suggestions will be made about the potential long-term protection of the seawall and beach amenity.

The consultants are expected to report back to the DCC in October on what information is already available and what, if any, extra data is needed.

Issues raised at the meeting included that problems with the seawall were a symptom of a much wider issue of sand depletion on the beach. Some people were concerned filling in the corner near the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool had contributed to the loss of sand.

Several speakers wanted a breakwater or artificial reef to be considered, while others asked what was happening with the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club ramp. People believed consultants' assessments needed to take local knowledge into account. Hence the call for a community liaison group.

The key issues for the DCC are that the St Clair beach environment is looked at in its entirety, that boat access for the Surf Club is provided as soon as possible and that the promenade is fixed for summer.

Staff emphasise establishing any long-term solutions could well be a lengthy process.

People are encouraged to tell us their ideas through the online feedback form.

22 August

We encourage you to come along to the public forum on Wednesday, 28 August at 6.30pm at the Forbury Park Raceway Hall.

This is an opportunity to share your ideas for the protection of the St Clair seawall and beach and hear about the next stages of the project.

This forum is an important part of the process and we look forward to hearing from you.

16 August

Opus International Consultants Ltd, supported by DHI New Zealand, has been appointed to assist the Dunedin City Council with the next stages of the St Clair Seawall project.

Opus International Consultants Ltd is an internationally respected firm with a strong New Zealand base. The support consultant, DHI New Zealand, is internationally recognised for its applied ability in water modelling and assessment capability encompassing marine and harbour situations.

DCC General Manager Infrastructure and Networks Tony Avery says the consultants’ brief is to assess the current situation and provide recommendations for a process to protect the seawall and the beach amenity in the area in the long term.

One of the first steps will be to hold a public forum where people can present their views and ideas to the consultants. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, 28 August at 6.30pm at the Forbury Park Raceway Hall and will involve Councillors, DCC engineers and consultants, as well as the public. The meeting will be advertised closer to the time.

As part of the first stage of the work the consultants will also:

  • Review the many reports available on the St Clair environment that have been prepared over the past 20-plus years, together with the many ideas submitted by residents.
  • Hold a workshop with previous consultants to gather all relevant information related to the beach frontage and marine environment.
  • Structurally evaluate the whole seawall, the promenade and the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club ramp.
  • Provide a report on how issues have evolved over the years and highlight any gaps in the DCC’s understanding of the tidal processes along that stretch of ocean frontage. The report will also identify what information still needs to be collected.
  • Provide alternatives to address the stability of the seawall in the longer term, while protecting beach amenity.

Mr Avery says the consultants are expected to report back to the DCC in early October. The cost for this scoping stage is estimated at $130,000, with further stages to be defined once the scoping is complete.

The structural integrity of the seawall was under threat following the undermining of the sand foundation and backfill over a 40m length of the seawall near the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club. The problem was identified when sinkholes appeared in the St Clair Esplanade paving in that area during extremely high tides in late May.

Public access from the Esplanade down to the beach was restored late last month. Stabilisation of the seawall was completed earlier in July. The DCC has spent about $500,000 on repairs. This reflects the significant amount of work carried out by contractors at the site, often late at night, and the use of specialist machinery and advice.

26 July

Public access from the St Clair Esplanade down to the beach should be restored within a week.

Stabilisation of the seawall was completed earlier in the month and DCC staff have been assessing the sets of steps which lead to the beach to decide which ones can be re-opened to the public.

DCC Roading Maintenance Engineer Peter Standring says as has been the case for about a year, there is a lack of sand at the bottom of the steps to provide a good landing area. The overall concern has been public safety, but the DCC recognises people are keen to have access restored to the beach.

Before some steps are re-opened, they will be water blasted and precautionary signs will be put up. However, people will still have to be careful.

In early August, the DCC hopes to announce the appointment of a consultant to look at a long-term solution for sand retention and seawall stability at St Clair.

It is also hoped the reinstatement of the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club ramp and the surrounding pavement will be carried out within the next three months, but this will depend on the consultant’s advice.

Tuesday 2 July

The repair and containment work at the St Clair Esplanade is expected to finish by the end of this week.

DCC Roading Maintenance Engineer Peter Standring says stabilisation of the seawall is almost complete. In terms of the Esplanade area where holes appeared, the pavers have been removed and stacked and the area will be backfilled to about 300-400mm below the surface.

The area, which will remain cordoned off, is being dealt with in this way to allow for settlement of the material and to leave the area exposed enough so engineering inspections can take place.

Mr Standring says the DCC has spent an estimated $500,000 so far. This reflects the significant amount of work carried out by contractors at the site, often late at night, and the use of specialist machinery and advice.

From the 11 expressions of interest received from consultants around the country for the next stage of work, DCC staff have been working with three companies. It is hoped the successful consultant will be selected in the next two weeks.

Mr Standring emphasised this would be a long-term strategic project, which would involve a wide range of expert advice. Any solution would centre on sand retention, both to ensure the structural integrity of the wall and for the amenity value. Sand levels at the beach will continue to be monitored in the meantime.

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