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Government to help relocate Franz Josef businesses

Government to help relocate Franz Josef businesses

The Government will contribute $862,000 (incl. GST) towards relocating businesses on the Waiho River at Franz Josef, Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins says.

The businesses are sited on the south bank of the Waiho River at Franz Josef, and include a motel, camping ground and lodge.

Mr Hawkins said the contribution followed the 2002 ‘Milligan’ report, which found significant risk to life in the area if the Waiho River flooded.

Although flooding at Franz Josef remained the responsibility of the Westland District and West Coast Regional Councils, given the extent of the risk the Government would assist, Mr Hawkins said.

Co-operation across district, regional and central government had resulted in a positive outcome for the area, he said.

“We have agreement to vacate the site by June 2004, agreement for the businesses to relocate and an enhanced response plan that allows for the safety of those at the sites during relocation,” he said.

The plan requires visitors to be warned of potential risk and daily or if necessary continuous, monitoring of the nearby Callery River tributary.

With the plan in place, the businesses would be able to operate at their current sites until 30 June 2004.

Further residential or commercial accommodation would be prohibited on the site, Mr Hawkins said.

The Westland District Council would contribute $234,000 to purchase the land. The Council and West Coast Regional Council had each committed a further $300,000 in loan finance to assist with relocation costs, the majority of which would be borne by existing landowners.

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