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New step towards safer future for Waitara

New step towards safer future for Waitara
18 September 2014

On Monday 15 September the Taranaki Regional Council Executive committee approved the proposal for the second stage of the upgrade of Waitara’s flood defences and work is expected to begin in October.

Stage 2 is the largest component of a three-year project to upgrade flood defences to protect Waitara residents, businesses and property from a ‘one in 100 year’ flood. Stage 2 will involve:

•Constructing a portable flood wall which can be installed across the western end of the town bridge when a large flood is forecast.

•Installing flood walls and raising the ground level from the town bridge downstream to beside the wharf on the west bank. This work has been carefully designed to maintain the recreational value of the area.

•Constructing a 2-metre high concrete flood wall 15 metres back from the riverbank alongside the ANZCO site, down to the New Plymouth District Council effluent storage tanks.

•Raising the height of the stopbank from the storage tanks to Domett Street.

The upgrade work will require the removal or relocation of infrastructure including the existing low flood walls, transformers and effluent pipelines in the area. A section of riverbank will need to be reshaped and some of the Pohutukawa trees lining the riverbank will be removed.

The Council has consulted extensively with the Waitara community, adjacent land occupiers and owners, and other affected parties since planning began in 2010.

Taranaki Regional Council Chairman David MacLeod acknowledges that there has been much public discussion around the need to remove some Pohutukawa trees from the river edge, alongside the ANZCO site.

“It’s important to note that most of the Pohutukawa trees lining the riverbank in this area will be retained.

“23 Pohutukawa trees have to be removed to allow 125 metres of very steep riverbank downstream of the wharf to be reshaped to maintain the integrity of the flood protection work. However, 107 Pohutukawa trees along 725 metres of riverbank will be retained.

“And, while a small number of locals have resisted the removal of any trees, there is clear support from the Waitara Community Board, the Lower Waitara River Scheme Liaison Committee, local hapu and the Waitara community for the upgrade work to increase the standard of flood protection for the town.

“Many people have also welcomed the improvements in amenity values and personal safety that the work will bring to the area.

“This project is a major investment to increase flood protection for the Waitara township, made possible through the cooperation and significant investment of some key parties including Methanex NZ, ANZCO and New Plymouth District Council.

“And we will continue to work with the Waitara community and NPDC to make sure that additional amenities and walkways are incorporated into the design to make this a project that Waitara can be truly proud of,” says Mr MacLeod.

Information on the Stage 2 development will be displayed in the Waitara library.

The Stage 2 work is expected to be completed by March 2015. The remaining earthworks to complete Stage 1 upstream of the town bridge are expected to recommence in late spring and finish by the end of 2014.

The final third stage of the upgrade project will be carried out in the 2015/2016 construction season.

ENDS

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