Matarawa Stream clearance works progressing well

Work underway by Horizons Regional Council to clear the Matarawa Stream is progressing well.

Horizons area engineer northern Wayne Spencer says the project is currently ahead of schedule and is tracking to finish well within budget.

“Following the 2015 floods the Whanganui east community approached us and requested that we remove some of the vegetation congesting the stream,” Mr Spencer says.

“Although a Matarawa river management scheme has been in place for many years, that has focussed on the maintenance of the five floodwater detention dams in the upper catchment. Those dams hold back floodwater, reducing flooding of both the valley and Whanganui east.

“Maintenance of the stream through Whanganui was not part of the scheme and it’s become very overgrown. Approval and funding was gained via the 2017-18 Annual Plan to address this and we are now in the second and final year of removing blockages and overgrown greenery.”

Mr Spencer says some of the work has been highly technical as contractors have been confined to working within backyards with limited access.

“At times we’ve had to use cranes to get equipment in and out of work sites, all while trying to minimise the damage to lawns and gardens. Fortunately landowners have been very accommodating throughout the process and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback.”

Mr Spencer says once the clearance work is completed Horizons will move into an annual maintenance programme.

“This financial year we are also looking into diverting more of the Matarawa when it’s in flood to the Mateongaonga. That will require resource consent which we will look to progress next winter with a view to undertaking the work next summer.”

The Matarawa urban clearance work programme is expected to wrap up by the end of March 2019. The project is budgeted to cost approximately $340,000 and is funded via Whanganui urban rates.