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Published: 2015-05-20 00:00:00

Joint media release from TCDC and Waikato Regional Council
Processing of consents for flood control works at Graham’s Creek in Tairua will proceed on a “non-notified” basis, meaning time savings before the work can go ahead if it is given final consented approval.

The announcement comes after applications were made recently to both Waikato Regional Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) for formal consents to do agreed flood mitigation and stopbank construction at Graham’s Creek, and an upgrade of the Causeway Bridge.

Waikato Regional Council’s Hauraki-Coromandel catchment management team leader Emily O’Donnell said the announcement was great news. “It means we can get on with implementation and keep the project on track and work towards peace of mind for this community. It also means we avoid costs associated with a public hearing if it had proceeded on a notified basis. We’ll almost certainly be able to get on with construction at Graham’s Creek in this calendar year, providing the consents are granted.”

Ms O’Donnell said the local community has had considerable input into the design of the works. “The decision to proceed on a non–notified basis reflects the work put in by a Graham’s Creek working party, which has involved community representatives as well as councillors and staff from both councils, and the extensive community and stakeholder engagement carried out by the regional council

“The working party was tasked with identifying a preferred design for the works that factored in the community and environmental values. The result is a design that provides at least 50 year flood mitigation and integrates the recreational and ecological values held at Graham’s Creek,” said Ms O’Donnell.

The regional council’s Coromandel constituency councillor Clyde Graf said the local community engagement had been crucial to making progress.

“Without the community’s involvement and input on the Graham’s Creek working group looking at the way forward we wouldn’t have got this far. TCDC has also been a key part of the project and it’s been great to be part of this effective team,” said Cr Graf, who sat on the working group, along with Cr Stu Husband, the chair of the regional council’s integrated catchment management committee.

Working group member and Tairua-Pauanui community board chair Bob Renton said: "With a strong and focused collaboration between regional and district council staff and our stakeholders working group we have been able to produce a good result. We are so pleased there's been a workable solution and a successful outcome."

The plan is to do the works in two phases. First, TCDC will undertake the causeway bridge upgrade. If consents from the regional council are processed by June, the physical bridge work can start in October, allowing for a lead time with the supply of precast concrete components. Once underway, works should take 6-8 weeks to complete.

The second phase is the regional council’s responsibility, and will involve floodway and stopbank construction. It’s hoped to get underway with construction later this year, and completion is expected to take around 12 months.

Construction is due to be followed by restoration planting in the area which will be completely finished in 2017. Some 12,000 plants may be put into the ground and community volunteers will be asked to help.