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Breakout Session

Coastal Protection Structures

In 2023 the Whangarei District Council (‘the Council) were made aware of the unauthorised construction of a concrete boat ramp, gabion baskets and metal accessway on the seaward side of 1439 Cove Road and within the Councils Esplanade Reserve. The property owner was a prominate businessmen in New Zealand. The Council issued an abatement notice to cease all works, remove the concrete boat ramp, gabion baskets and to restore the Council’s Esplanade Reserve. The Northland Regional Council also issued an abatement notice. 

The property owner appealed both Council’s Abatement Notice claiming that it was a permitted activity and advising that the works were to protect his property that was allegedly damaged in Cyclone Gabrielle. The house was more than 50m away and Council had not been given anything substantive to prove the works were associated with protecting his property. In October 2023 it came to Council’s attention that the property owner had continued to do further works. In November 2023 Council applied to the Environment Court for an Enforcement Order for the removal of these structures and for the reinstatement of the Council’s Esplanade Reserve.   The Norland Regional Council supported these orders as s278 Party. The Enforcement Order was subsequently granted by the Environment. While the Court acknowledged there was some Costal Erosion along the foreshore of the property boundary and within the Councils Esplanade Reserve, this was natural process and it had no impact on the stability of the house. It was also acknowledged that these structures had no public benefit and were exclusively for the individual benefit of the property owner (ie: to launch his boat). It was concluded that these structures did require resource consent as a discretionary activity.  




Kate Biddlecombe
Team Leader - RMA Approvals and Compliance, Whangarei District Council


Permanent structures being constructed on the Council’s Reserve is becoming increasingly a problem in Northland and Council are receiving more reports of this happening. A Working Group has been created between the Northland Regional Council, DOC and Whangarei District Council to ensure that all parties are taking a consistent approach and ensuring that existing structures are for the public benefit.  This working group was created after the below enforcement case. 


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