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Published: 2003-11-03 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has approved resource consents for a stopbank near Miranda Hit Springs.

Hauraki District Council had applied to dam and divert water with a stopbank above mean high water springs for land drainage and protection next to Miranda Road, north of Miranda Hot Springs.

Three submissions were made by DoC, Miranda Holiday Park and neighbours.

The Council applied to construct a stopbank 11 metres wide, 1.3 metres high and 1200 metres long along Miranda Road, south of the Miranda Settlement on farmland adjacent to mud flats that support mangrove communities. Material used for construction would be excavated from the mud flat.

The borrowpit would be approximately 13.5 metres wide at the soil surface, extending to a depth of 2.2 metres where the width would be reduced to five metres.

The proposed works were needed to protect farmland, commercial investment, road access and human life from tidal flooding. It would complete the protection currently extending continuously from Thames to Miranda, the district council said. Without this section, existing stopbanks on either side would have limited effective ability to provide protection from tidal flooding.

DoC was concerned about the works affecting land with high conservation value. The proposed construction method required fill to be excavated from the inter-tidal zone, a practice that was no longer appropriate due to the ecological effects.

Environment Waikato resource officer Joanna Smith said the Firth of Thames’ status as a wetland of international significance needed to be considered, along with the proximity of the site to an Area of Significant Conservation Value. The proposal would join approximately 26 km of existing foreshore stopbanking intended to protect adjacent property owners.

Granting the consent, the Hearing Committee acknowledged the concerns of Ngati Whanaunga about soil disturbance in areas where historic battles had occurred and the possibility of uncovering taonga existed. The Hearing Committee encouraged a suggestion to educate the public and assist in accessing views of the coastal environment by providing a viewing platform.

In making its decision it said it had considered the environmental, social, cultural and economic effects of the proposal, which would provide a greater degree of certainty for property owners and enable increased efficiency for adjacent stopbanks.