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Published: 2005-02-11 00:00:00

Significant river management and flood protection works on the Tongariro River will get underway this summer.

The works increase flood protection for urban areas of Turangi, following extensive discussions with key interest groups.

Consents were granted in late 2004 but were appealed. Environment Waikato Project Manager Bruce Peploe said staff had been working with the appellants over the last three months to resolve issues. They were now largely resolved with only a few outstanding.

“Agreement has been reached with appellants to withdraw their appeals, except for those related to the construction of the stopbanks upstream of the State Highway 1 Bridge. Appeals against these stopbanks will be adjourned until the proposed Catchment Management Plan for the Tongariro River is completed, and their design will be considered within the framework of the Plan.”

Works that could be implemented this year included construction of stopbanks next to the Bridge Lodge, completion of stopbanking at Herekiekie Street, topping up the existing stopbank below the bridge, protection to eroding banks of the river, removal of 15,000 cubic meters of gravel and gravel management within the river.

“Ngati Turangitukua hapu and DoC have supported the proposed works and Environment Waikato has been in discussions with them about removing gravel and the operations within the river. The works will be undertaken in a way which minimises the effect on the river and the fishery.”

Mr Peploe said resolution of appeals to this level was a significant step toward progressing the works programme and followed many months of meetings and discussions. Tenders could be let to enable a significant amount of work to be done before the end of this summer.

Since the February 2004 flood, a large quantity of gravel was deposited in the bed of the river, raising it in a number of places.

“This gravel needs to be removed as it will reduce the effectiveness of the flood scheme. Environment Waikato intends to lodge a further application shortly to extract up to 50,000 cubic meters of gravel from the river,” he said.