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Council options for Mataikona include one that cuts off all access

Up to three coastal Masterton settlements could be cut off by the effects of climate change.
The future of Maitaikona’s coastal road will be discussed at a second community meeting today.
A Masterton District Council [MDC] spokesperson said the impacts of climate change were increasing the frequency and duration of road closures for Maitaikona and said reliable access for residents was at risk.
A July report by engineering firm Stantec into resilient and sustainable access to Mataikona, said the area was home to about 200 residents.
MDC said options for the road ranged from doing nothing to upgrading Pack Spur Rd and strengthening the Mataikona River section while completely abandoning Mataikona Rd south of Mataikona.
Other options included retreating Mataikona Rd where there was space, addressing all problems along the road, and a tailored programme of high-cost interventions that best address the problems in each section of Mataikona Rd in the long term.
A map showed three main settlements along Mataikona Rd – Mataikona, middle settlement, and Sandy Bay. MDC said if nothing was done to fix the road, all three settlements would be lost. Two of the alternative route options would mean the loss of at least one settlement south of Mataikona.
Alternative route ‘one’ would retain access for light vehicles on Mataikona Rd to Sandy Bay, however, access to Mataikona and middle settlement would be via Pack Spur Rd.
MDC said the first alternative route would protect the Mataikona River section of the road from erosion.
“Investment on the remaining corridor is per “do minimum” [reactive maintenance]. This package results in the loss of access between Sandy Bay and the middle settlement.”
The second alternative route would cut-off access to middle settlement entirely.
MDC said it would keep access for light vehicles to Sandy Bay and Mataikona settlements, but access to Mataikona would be through Pack Spur Rd.
The Mataikona River section would again be protected from erosion.
“This package results in the loss of access to the middle settlement, and direct access between Sandy Bay and Mataikona.”
The third alternative route option would result in the loss of access to both middle settlement and Sandy Bay.
MDC said the option would maintain access for light vehicles to the Mataikona settlement but would lose road access to all other properties, including Sandy Bay and
the middle settlement.
The option would see the upgrade of Pack Spur Rd to become passable in most weather conditions.
It said the option would protect the Mataikona River section from erosion, but would abandon Mataikona Rd south of the river.
Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] senior policy adviser for hazards and coasts Iain Dawe told the Wairarapa Times-Age in November last year that the region was facing a “double whammy” of sea level rise coupled with subducting land.
“One of the things about the Wellington region is that we have quite small tides, for the Wairarapa coast, tides can range between 1.1 and 1.2 metres, Wellington ranges only about half a metre.”
He said coastal geomorphology had developed over time to “just deal” with the small tide range.
“What we’ve done is build all these roads over the last 100 years, and since then we’ve had almost a quarter of a metre of relative sea level rise. It’s significant.”
Dawe said problems would also arise for small coastal communities like Tora, Mataikona, and Ngawi with only one coastal access road.
He said access to these communities would be threatened – there was already rock protection measures in place to save the roads.
Dawe warned that if a Wairarapa road was threatened, it could not be moved elsewhere.
He said many small coastal communities were pushed up against big coastal escarpments.
“For some places, they are trapped between a rock and a hard place, literally.”
Stantec said possible solutions to save Mataikona Rd included building an artificial reef, beach stabilisation, sea walls, retaining walls to strengthen the coastline, and products similar to Cape Palliser’s eco reef.
It said artificial dunes and a “hybrid structure” of a mix of solutions were also options.
It said if nothing was done, access to the settlements would soon be lost to the sea.
MDC said it would share progress on refining potential options and long-term solutions at the meeting.
The meeting will be held at 1123 Mataikona Rd [The Walker’s Shed] between 1.30-2.30pm today.


Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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