Let’s save our Bay

July 9, 2009

Don’t miss out – Days Bay AGM & superb dinner at the Cobar Wed 26 August featuring author Maggie Rainey Smith. NB all residents are invited to the AGM part of the evening 6.30pm for 7.00pm AGM. Dinner at 8pm. Dinner and entertainment tickets $55 ($60 after 12 August). Ticket sales may be limited. Book now at info@daysbay.org.nz or call 562 7200.

Newsletter 9 July 2009 (distributed to all Days Bay mailboxes) – Recent media releases (Hutt News, 30 June and the June Eastbourne Herald) report on expert opinions that suggest our inner harbour beaches are being overrun with gravel. Are we concerned? Should we try to save/restore the sandy beach that Days Bay has always been known for? If we want to try to keep sand on our beach, changes are necessary. The Days Bay Residents Association (DBRA) welcomes your views. Recent media releases (Hutt News, 30 June and the June Eastbourne Herald) report on expert opinions that suggest our inner harbour beaches are being overrun with gravel. Are we concerned? Should we try to save/restore the sandy beach that Days Bay has always been known for? If we want to try to keep sand on our beach, changes are necessary. The Days Bay Residents Association (DBRA) welcomes your views.

The story so far The article on page 5 of the June 30 edition of the Hutt News has very accurately summarised concerns held by the committee of the Days Bays Residents Association (DBRA) for a number of years. Experts appear to be unanimous in predicting that our once sandy playground and beach will soon become a thing of the past.

350 road

For some time DBRA has been conducting research into the causes of sand erosion and the build up of gravel at the beach. DBRA believes, that left unchecked, the current pattern of beach deterioration will have a negative impact on our future quality of life as residents. DBRA research to date prompts the following comment: –

• Five reports prepared for Councils since 1980, yet no action. download reports

• Gravel pulse reached Days Bay in 2007. 10 more years could see the bay filled with gravel.

• Main Road erosion has accelerated in the last two years. Council needs to use rocks/walls to protect road – the use of rocks/walls causes sand erosion.

• Council has acknowledged the difficulties associated with the lack of natural dune protection and the encroachment of gravel.

350 Eastbourne 1957 & 2008

The Gravel Pulse (nb also see Blog further down – Gravel moving into the Bay by John Butt. Aug 2008) Photos above are of Eastbourne’s southern beach – showing the changes over the past few decades. These images demonstrate the Gravel Pulse moving in a north direction. The Gravel Pulse reached Days Bay in 2007. Within 10 years, Days Bay could be filled with gravel. In recent years the beach at Days Bay has become thickly covered in small gravel at the south end. Because of the erosion of sand at the north end, the road is threatened. Council has constructed a retaining wall in an attempt to stop the undermining of the road. Expert opinion indicates that the presence of retaining walls will hasten the disappearance of sand from the beach. The solution to the problem proposed by the experts is a return to the cultivation of sand dunes. The development of dunes is only possible if the road is moved from its present position adjacent to the beach. If the road is to be relocated an opportunity is created to make a natural connection from the beach to the park area by reintroduction of a sand dune area.

If both these events occur it then becomes necessary to re-design the current Williams Park landscape and upgrade amenities where appropriate.

DBRA has considered the following options:
1 – do nothing
2 – plant dunes
3 – replenish sand from offshore or elsewhere
4 – re-locate the road to rear of Williams Park
Options 2-4 could be considered simultaneously. Option 4 represents major change. As announced at last year’s AGM the DBRA has been giving consideration to a “what if ” concept that would see re-routing of the road together with a revamp for Williams Park and the beach. To aid the in visualisation of a “what if ” concept, DBRA submits a sketch plan for residents to consider.
350 scheme

1 – no change to road, some sense of “gateway” into Days Bay. Keep existing parking
2 – extend dune/native planting area to encompass existing Wellesley driveway
3 – move Wellesley entrance to align with . . . 5
4 – replace bus parking lost in 2 for access to Wellesley
5 – seaside park opens onto Days Bay . . . parking to road and offers unimpeded access to the beach
6 – “soccer field” – same as existing, “moved” to be by the sea
7 – retain existing bush and move footpath to inland side of road – access to 12
8 – “new” Pavilion building directly opposite wharf
9 – family picnic area, trees and grass, children able to run straight onto beach
10 – remove duck pond, possible replaced by “water play” area for small children nearer beach
11 – possible position for pedestrian crossing (underpass). Macrocarpa trees stay with planting around as Kereru Road lower area closed to traffic – just pedestrian access parking to tennis courts, etc.
12 – no change to this park but may have to move pumping station?
13 – existing changing rooms/wc back onto Pavilion park
14 – north Days Bay links to park and beach via overbridge (think “city to sea” but smaller) – big steps on park side to sit and watch soccer – main access for Wellesley to park & wharf.

DBRA is concerned about these issues and has a vision for the future of Days Bay. Local residents may not share some of these views but DBRA welcomes comment & encourages discussion from all residents and any other interested parties. Comments may be made below or sent to info@daysbay.org.nz or c/o DBRA Secretary, 614 Marine Drive, Days Bay.

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6 Responses to “Let’s save our Bay”

  1. Hi I am concerned about the way the DBRA is heading.
    Where is the mandate for these ideas?
    A geologist has already stated that we cannot fight nature. We are a small part the Lower Hutt community and we are a very privilaged part of that community. We have already had a fair share of money spent on us with the up grade of the changing sheds, You will probably say these benefit everyone who comes to our beach. This is true of course but is also amazes me how many times I have heard residents complain about the amount of people that come here in summer and we should put a quota on visitors. Considering everyones right to the foreshore and seabed I find these comments elitist.
    Have you argued for the libraries to stay open in Naenae and Moera. They are continally under threat of closure? Is it a fair use of the city’s resources for us to get a new road, Pavillion etc.
    Personally I think resources need be spread more widely. I am worried about our larger community. Their access to books, transport, health resources. Look at the big picture. We are privillaged and lucky to be where we are. The only thing we should be doing is looking at native dune restoration. Maybe volunteer labour and money from the Pelorus Trust could get us on the way. Save the rest of the city’s money for a greater good and need!
    Krista Huber
    ReplyReply AllMove…Inbox

    • southlight said

      Krista,

      Thanks so much for your comments. We really hope there will be active & vigorous debate within our residents & those of the wider community, making their feelings known. Our committee has spent a lot of time researching & discussing these issues & now is the time for feedback.

      I felt I should address some of your points –

      “Mandate for these ideas?” – if you recall from previous newsletters and on our Blog, for the past few years we have been raising concerns about the gravel, beach & road erosion & even the idea about moving the road. We thought it important to encourage more discussion within Days Bay & beyond. These are only “ideas” presented by our committee, having talked & listened to coastal experts. We welcome more ideas & views – hence the recent newsletter, upcoming AGM & future meetings.

      We totally agree with you that Days Bay is a treasured resource, owned by a much wider community than our local neighbourhood & we believe we should help preserve & enhance this unique reserve for all future generations.

      Whilst I would agree with your concerns to maintain & improve library, health & transport resources for other communities in Lower Hutt, I don’t believe Days Bay residents would consider this to be part of the activities of the DBRA.

      We all agree that dune restoration is of paramount importance. We have seen how local volunteer groups are making a difference. The Hutt City volunteer coordinator Rosie Doole has done a superb job organising plants, equipment & refreshments for many working bees over the past few years. There have been meetings & workshops where coastal erosion experts have explained what is happening. Despite advertising all these activities, it seems that there is still only a small handful of locals that show up.

      We need to improve this situation. Maybe school groups could be encouraged to understand the need for restoring native plants & subsequent care. How can we better engage the local residents to take an active role? Yes, we could approach the Pelorus Trust or similar, however we have seen how even small local groups of volunteers can make a difference.

      The present DBRA will certainly collate all responses such as yours & make them available for others to comment on, if you wish. We certainly encourage any local residents to play an active roll by either joining the DBRA committee and/or be part of the ongoing discussions, working planting bees, workshops, etc.

      Thanks again.

      Simon Hoyle
      Sec DBRA

  2. Adele Broadbent said

    Hi,

    Add me as a supporter to Krista and as totally opposed to your ‘ideas’. I was born and grew up around Pukatea St and yes the gravel has changed the beaches. But hey – you know worse things happen at sea. This is what nature does and it isn’t a tragedy, just change.

    You haven’t addressed Krista’s comments which are based on cost and – actually you haven’t addressed cost at all. I believe the Hutt needs money spent on necessities like libraries not beautifying beaches. Let’s get our priorities right here. Will people in Epuni really find this more important to them than making public facilities more accessible for everyone.

    I don’t know folks but I think you are barking up the wrong tree (or road). Which brings me to the other point, having boy racers further into the bay at night. Now that’s just going to be fun for all I imagine.

    Think again DBRA – not this plan.

    However thumbs up on dune restoration.

    Adele Broadbent and family…

    • Alan Hart said

      Add me as a supporter of Adele (and Krista).

      I think the residents association and the dunes group have there hearts and motives in the right place, its just that I don’t think Days Bay is the right place to fight for sand dunes, and I don’t think fighting the gravel pulse is a battle worth fighting. After Listening to the presentation by the geologists to the dunes group recently I was confirmed in my impression that the gravel s a positive boon. Furthemore I struggle to understand how the planned relocation of the road relates to the latter at all.

      Unlike Krista and Adele I am a relative newcomer to Days Bay. I was born in Tahunanui in Nelson, which I belive translates as the ‘place of many sand dunes’. In my distant youth, and presumably in pre-european times, Tahuna beach had extensive dunes that I used to play over. Now there is one small dune between the sea and the ‘whale play ground’ that was my childhood turf. And in that 40 odd years I have seen many a planting, fencing, ice plant eradication, native plot..
      Nature is no respector of such things and sands shift.

      The take home message I took from the recent talk to the Dunes group by the masters student investigating the gravel acretion moving into the harbour was Eastbourne was very lucky that this natural process came along. Photos he showed early in his talk illustrated the very real erosion threat that plagued the settlement into the 1930’s, leading to the sea walls and groins. It was only the influx or gravel that really reversed this process and is now leading to acretion that builds up rather than destroys dunes.

      I agree strongly with Mrs Owen who wonders how the proposed redirection of the road would prevent erosion of the sand dune at the northern end of the bay. With the sea levels rising and the power of nature I fear any marginal increase in the width of the ‘dune’ at the northern end would be of very short lived protective benefit. The only hope in reality is that the geologist are right and the gravel keeps coming for that is what saved Eastborne.

      We live on the southern end of Days Bays and watch the beach level rise and fall with every storm. Gravel is hard on the feet and gets between the toes but I believe without it the sand level would be considerably lower on this exposed portion of the beach.

      (Krista’s mum played in that same gravel when she lived in our house so the gravel pulse must be traveling at a geological time rate…)

      I have some sympathy of limited replenishment of sand at the high tide level around the excellent refurbished changing shed (which I think are fast becoming an iconic jewel of the area and a credit to those involved). Topping up and manicuring the high use sandy area from the wharf to the cafes would seem a better use of scarce funds to me.

      Frankly I suspect the proposal to redirrect the road has more to do with aesthetics, than dune restoration and road protection. Thats fine if you are up front about it, and I actually do agree the natural flow between the green space and beach would be much improved without the road. In Tahuanui we had that, its just that now there is half a dune between the Tasman sea and that green space..

      MY 2p then is pray for gravel, plant native dune species in Rona Bay, leave my lovely protective gravel on the south end and beach beautify as required in the high use areas.

      Alan Hart

  3. Graham Thomson said

    Dear Simon,

    I was most impressed with the imaginative and forward looking concept plan that has been put forward for consideration at the AGM. I feel it is bold and shows the result of careful thought and consideration. It certainly has my strong support in principle. There will be critics I am sure but it is so good to see a positive and comprehensive scheme drawn up. Could I please record my proxy vote for its adoption as I will be overseas at the time of the Annual General Meeting. and so must tender an apology ?

    You will appreciate that my support of this concept is from someone with a long and continuing interest in Days Bay. My grandparents bought property here in the Bay in the 1920’s and my parents and in turn all our family spent much time here. When I married in 1965 we moved to live here permanently . Both my married children own property here and live in Days Bay with their husbands and children.

    As a former committee member and for some time former President of the DBRA I fully appreciate how much time , energy and effort is put into running such an organisation. Please pass on to your commitee and the President my very sincere thanks for all your hard work

    With best wishes for a successful AGM

    sincerely

    Graham Thomson

  4. Warren Owen said

    Thoughts on the New Days Bay Road Proposal August 5 2009

    Firstly let me declare my personal interest in vigorously opposing the proposed changes to Days Bay’s physical layout. The new road would significantly impact on where I live both from a visual and noise perspective. My place of employment, Wellesley College would lose part of its frontage and access. BUT, something bigger than both those things is a major driving force behind my opposition. That is, there is a significant risk (almost certainly) that if the proposal were to go ahead, the historic ambience of what we know as Days Bay, will be gone forever, and for what reason?
    What’s broken? Over the last century Wellingtonians and others have enjoyed the special character Days Bay offers. On a personal note, I find the essence of Days Bay hard to describe but it has a beauty that is unique. Part of that beauty comes from the bay’s ‘old world’ peace. It has mostly been left alone from people tinkering with it. Over the decades there have been moves to add carparks, put up Disney type play gear etc but common sense has prevailed and the ‘powers that be’ have left well alone.
    When it is swimming type weather, the beach, wharf and park areas hum. A few times a year, parking becomes a problem but anyone prepared to park in the back streets have a few minute’s walk at the most.
    Even when the weather is grotty, families are able to find a sheltered spot in the park or even under the verandah of the pavilion. That’s part of Days Bay’s charm. You can picnic in a variety of places avoiding the wind or just enjoying the green spaces. Generations of children have enjoyed the duck pond, playing in the bush edges and families have enjoyed the touch rugby, volley ball etc type games. (no matter what the weather!)
    Older people (and the not so old) enjoy the drive along the foreshore and many just enjoy sitting in their car enjoying the view.
    I ask again, why fix something that is not broken??
    The argument for change and to move the road to avoid sand erosion and the ‘gravel pulse’ is very debateable! Nature will prevail ‘come what may’! The theory that the development of dunes is only possible if the road is moved from its present position so there is a natural connection from beach to the park, is not guaranteed. There are countless examples around NZ which demonstrate this.
    South of Days Bay there are many sand dune areas to enjoy. However for many of the expansive areas, (e.g. opposite the rec and beyond) it has been difficult to establish dune plants even though their layout is similar to what is being proposed for Days Bay. The beach adjacent to the Rec. has its own identity but it is a different (not better or worse) beauty to the Days Bay beauty. I enjoy ‘the Rec.’ beach and visit regularly. The real risk is Days Bay will lose its identity and special character and if anything will lose its appeal. If you are a regular walker around the bays you will know the beach population ratio distribution between the beaches. People do not use the other beaches as much as Days Bay is used. The vista as you drive/walk past Bishop’s Park is great but you can’t view the sea.

    Even if dunes were created, a big storm could and probably would destroy the ‘man made’ changes and more than likely take part of the park with it. It is hard enough to maintain a reasonable turf culture (salt and sand influence) at Williams Park under its current site (road in between), let alone place it next to the beach.
    Williams Park is very well used by picnickers, the touch rugby brigade, legions of soccer children, the wider Lower Hutt and Wellington community, school children etc and the proposal in my mind changes the dynamics of the park’s use. Families enjoy the proximity to the bush and ease of access to the extensive work done on the tracks.
    On a beautiful summer’s day you enter the bay past Katherine Mansfield’s old cottage the road hugs the coast and you can look out to sea and on you left you have a line of flowering pohutakawas. The new proposal suggests a turn to the left away from the sea and then a right bend back to the coast no longer viewing across the bay!! For what purpose!!!
    On a more superficial note but still worth mentioning, is the ‘litter factor’. As anyone walking through William’s Park after a busy weekend will attest, there is considerable litter blowing around. If the park is up against the beach, the litter will be so much harder to contain and the beach and water’s edge will become unsightly.
    The cost of such a proposal would be outrageous (how many million???), particularly for areas of Hutt City that have been waiting for a long time for infrastructure improvements, social /sporting resources etc To be honest, in my view it would be a gross misuse of funds. Road protection has been used as part of the argument for change! This section of road must be way down the list of priority needs, even within the bays.
    Part of the rationale behind the proposal is to demolish the current pavilion so as to rebuild something to rival the previous pavilion in design. (the design of the proposed road would require the pavilion to be demolished along with trees, duck pond etc ) Even if one were to support this new pavilion concept, which in itself would be a significant expense, the outcome could be achieved on the current site.
    In my mind, it would be huge risk to follow through on the proposed changes. The historic Days Bay we all know could be changed forever by the significant change in dynamics and I for one am not prepared to see that happen.
    Warren Owen
    Days Bay

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