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The race is on to finish the ears

Work to stop six decades of erosion on a beach on the Otago Peninsula is nearing completion.

Most of the three rock groynes under construction now extend into Otago Harbor off Te Rauone Beach, about 2 km from Taiaroa Head.

Port Otago civil engineer Andy Pullar said work in the marine area would stop to meet consent conditions on December 17.

But despite a delay related to the Covid-19 lockdown, there was still hope that contracted teams on site could complete the work by then, Mr Pullar said.

“They are pushing really hard,” he said. “If they get a good streak of good weather and good tides and the rock supply holds up, they’ll be very close to completing all three.”

Work on the south groyne was complete, work on the north groyne was three-quarters complete and work on the central groyne was about halfway yesterday, he said.

Some cleaning on the beach itself might be possible after December 17th, but the beach would be accessible during the summer.

As a condition of consent, work in the marine area must cease between mid-December and February to allow the sea lion breeding season in the area, he said.

The Groynes are part of a multi-million dollar joint project between Port Otago and Dunedin City Council, to restore Te Rauone Beach and create a reserve area.

The Rauone Beach Coast Care Committee is also involved in the project.

Over the past six decades, the beach has been eroded and the sand dunes are shrinking.

An application for authorization to use resources for rock groynes made by Beca and sand reclamation drew 365 bids – two against, one neutral and 362 for.

A public hearing was held on December 15 last year and consent was granted two days later.

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