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Kiwi Rail Greenlights Hokitika Flood Protection

The next stage in a $7.5 million flood protection scheme for Hokitika -- now delayed by 10 months -- should get underway soon.

But the West Coast Regional Council will need to beat the all important West Coast whitebaiting season if it is to complete a new floodwall along Hokitika's Gibson Quay, before the season starts on September 1.

The new flood work, from Westland Milk Products factory down to the Hokitika Bridge, is dubbed '1b' in the scheme.

It will link to the first stage completed behind the factory late last winter.

To date council has spent $2.3million of the total current budget of $7,505,226.

In the past 10 months council consultants have been working with Kiwi Rail to gain affected party consent for the 1b stage, given the rail corridor to Westland Milk Products is affected.

Council's Infrastructure Reference Group programme manager Scott Hoare said they finally had a green light.

"I have some really good news: we have written approval from KiwiRail," he said.

This earned a "wohoo" from Infrastructure Governance Committee chairman Frank Dooley.

"Well done," he said.

Mr Hoare said they had been negotiating with the State rail operator since last August.

The matter of extending a small drain in conjunction with the district council was all that had to be covered off now for the final sign-off.

Mr Hoare said the appointed contractor had previously been stood down due to the delay so getting them to remobilise immediately was being negotiated.

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The biggest challenge for that was "the start of whitebaiting".

This would be crucial to give an adequate window for the work, Mr Hoare said.

Meanwhile preparatory work for the third stage, the section to protect the Hokitika town centre, was progressing as well.

Cr Dooley said it was good to read that Kiwi Rail had finally given its blessing.

Mr Hoare said Kiwi Rail gave verbal advice on April 24 its queries were now resolved.

He subsequently received draft conditions from the rail operator on May 24.

However, the regional council had now requested seepage modelling for the new build, plus closed circuit television of the existing Westland District Council storm water pipes in the area.

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