‘Retreat’ may be on the cards for Gisborne coastal residents

Pare Street in Wainui, Gisborne. - Photo: Gisborne District Council / Supplied

A response to erosion that is damaging properties and threatening homes at the coastal settlement of Wainui Beach will be figured out with input from residents, the council says.

Yesterday three homes were evacuated after heavy 4 metre easterly swells damaged a sea-wall on Friday.

That led to the ocean eating away 8 metres of front lawn at those properties.

They were evacuated, and heavy rocks were put in place by contractors yesterday to keep the sea at bay.

The rocks would protect the homes, but were only a temporary fix, the Gisborne District Council's director of community lifelines David Wilson said.

He said the council would need to talk to the community about a long-term solution, which could include moving people away from the coastline.

"Under the New Zealand coastal policy statement we have to really work to see what we can do here.

"Retreat may be an issue that we have to look into with the community to see in the future what we're going to do - manage retreat, or hard structures. All of those are things that are going to need to be worked through"

Mr Wilson said fixing the sea wall was potentially part of the solution.

He said the council had a dynamic coastline to deal with, and sea walls had also been built at Tokomaru Bay to protect the road and property.