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Popular walkway threatened by rising sea levels

August 29th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Concerns are growing that rising sea levels are threatening the integrity of the Kumaras walkway at very high tides, with risks of parts of the track being washed away and allowing flooding up toward Thorp Street.

The popular walking and cycling track, which runs from the Raumanuka Scenic Reserve at the end of Staples Street, past the start of the sandspit to the golf course, has been topped several times this year on very high tides, and some temporary fill has been brought in.

The path is maintained by Keep Motueka Beautiful as part of the track leading all the way down Motueka Quay to Port Motueka. It was formed into a recreational walkway a few years ago after KMB was clearing scrub in the area east of the farmland and discovered the old stopbank. Plans for the new grand Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail include the use of this stretch of land in the Motueka section.

Following several tidal events, KMB's project manager Bob Cooke said the need is now clear for repair and increasing the height of this part of the walkway to prevent damage in future.

At the beautification group's July meeting Bob presented his budget for the 2011/2012 year, of which $5500 was for the part of the Kumaras walkway between the seat and the new diversion. He said that if it breaks, sea water could reach Thorp St.

However, while the surface of the walkway was the responsibility of Keep Motueka Beautiful, Tasman District Council should cover the cost of raising the height of the stopbank. Discussions are under way with Council to establish responsibilities and plan the repair work.


Comment by Mary Caldwell:
[Posted 3 September 2011]

Thanks KMB for bringing this to the attention of TDC.

Comment by Beth Bryant:
[Posted 5 September 2011]

Wave action during storms is what causes overtopping of this walkway. Where Rushes and Mulenbeckia protect the walkway the energy is taken out of the waves and they do not overtop the track.
Previously there were native plants - mulenbecia and rushes along much of this walkway, which protected it from wave- overtopping. These plants have gradually been removed as a result of track modification, and also spraying.

Another problem is caused when horses, dogs or people leave the track and break down the vegetation on the estuary edges, leaving them vulnerable to wave action and inundation by high spring tides.

Mulenbecia and Rushes along with Coastal ribbonwood are particularly important for protecting the coastal edge. As well, they are all important for food and shelter for native insects, lizard and birds.

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