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South Dunedin residents fear worsening beach erosion

A South Dunedin resident is calling on the city council to urgently find a stop-gap measure to tackle coastal erosion in the area.  

The relentless action of the ocean at St Clair Beach and adjacent sand dunes is a major concern for residents.

South Dunedin residents are troubled by erosion of sand dunes around St Clair Beach. Source: 1 NEWS

Resident Bill Brown commissioned photos showing the erosion since July of sand dunes protecting South Dunedin.  

He told ONE News sand dunes will start eroding on the landward side, affecting property immediately behind it and "there'll be quite a mess to clean up".

In 2011, Auckland environmental and engineering consultants Tonkin and Taylor recommended "monitoring" erosion over the next decade, with a long-term solution to bury a backstop wall in the dunes.

"If it gets to a state when it becomes an emergency, then council will step up," Mr Brown said. 

"There isn't an alternative, it just has to be repaired. So on that basis I'm confident we will get a resolution because there has to be one."

While there is a plan for the dunes, Dunedin's mayor Dave Cull believes there's a much bigger issue in rising sea levels in the area.   

In June, a massive rain event flooded stormwater systems and Mr Cull believes such flooding will be more frequent. 

The city council says if the sea level does rise, by their estimates ponding like that seen in the 2015 floods could start occurring irrespective of whether it's raining or not.

"What we do know, if it happens over and over again and we can't do anything about it, then it's not viable to be living in a place that's constantly got ponding water," Mr Cull said.

The mayor likens the issue to a "slow moving earthquake", and says as the whole country is pitching in to pay for the Christchurch rebuild, solving Dunedin's water problems could be something all taxpayers foot the bill for.