Decisions made for river management works programme

Horizons Regional Council’s catchment operations committee met today to make a range of decisions about the proposed river management works programme for the 2022-23 financial year across the region.

Horizons group manager catchment operations Dr Jon Roygard says one of the key considerations put to council was how to progress the Te Awahou Foxton Flood Mitigation Project.

“This project was a recipient of central government’s climate resilience funding in 2020 and aimed to improve Foxton’s level of flood defence to 1 in 50 year standard with an allowance for climate change by March 2024,” he says.

“While a lot of work has already gone into design, consenting and construction of elements of the original design for this project, we have arrived at a decision point regarding where to next. The combination of inflation costs, challenges of purchasing land required for some parts of the design and consenting timeframes with the 2024 deadline required a reassessment of options by Council.”

Dr Roygard says Council has considered a range of options and resolved to go with one that sees works continue to build resilience in the township as a step towards the goals of the original project.

“This includes works upstream of the town and along Kings Canal, a pumpstation on Purcell Street, and construction of a wetland on Cook Street. The next steps include confirming arrangements with funding partners, completing further modelling and design, and preparing works for the coming construction season.

“We are pleased to have a new direction for the project locked in to provide the community with assurance about next steps. We also appreciate the time some Foxton community members took today to share their views with us about the options.”

Dr Roygard says another key area of consideration put to Council today included the wider river management works programme.

“The works programme signalled for the year is significant and we are also facing staffing level challenges,” he says.

“As such, we asked Council to consider a revised works programme with a focus on achievability while leaving some room for unplanned works following events such as a flood. Council supported this approach and we are pleased to be able to focus on what’s realistic to achieve for our community over the next year.”

Other topics discussed at the meeting included a call for to central government co-investment in flood protection, and a presentation from Massey University regarding a draft resilience strategy for Anzac Parade in Whanganui.

For more detail and information about the Te Awahou Foxton Mitigation Project and revised river management works programme please see Item 7 and 8 in the catchment operations meeting agenda.