Environment Waikato has completed flood protection works around the Herekiekie Street, Bridge Lodge and Tongariro Lodge areas flanking the Tongariro River in Turangi.
Local land owners have expressed support for the works, which include new stop banks, landscape rehabilitation work, the planting of grass and native vegetation, and the construction of rock protection.
“I’m delighted with the results and I’m feeling a lot safer,” said Les Wilson, an adjacent land owner who was affected by the 2004 floods.
Environment Waikato plans to continue extracting gravel from the dry river bed in the area immediately downstream of the SH1 bridge in the New Year.
The local hapu, Turangitukua, are supportive of the gravel extraction project and have worked with Environment Waikato to ensure the flood capacity of the Tongariro river channel is enhanced in the vicinity of Turangi.
Byfords Construction Company, which has recently established a gravel processing site at Waiotaka Rd, has been able to provide marketplace access for the use of gravel.
“Gravel extraction in the vicinity of Turangi is fundamental to ensuring the flood protection scheme remains viable in a 100-year flood event,” said project manager Jan Hania.
Further gravel extraction is scheduled to begin in late January and is likely to continue through until the end of next March.
A resource consent for stop bank works between Tahawai Street and Poto Street is currently under appeal, with negotiations continuing.
“We would like to acknowledge the support of Department of Conservation staff, Genesis Energy, the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board and the Tongariro River Advocates,” Mr Hania said.
“The Tongariro is a New Zealand icon that requires utmost respect and consideration. The developing partnerships and growing understanding between those concerned with the health and life of the river bodes well for future generations.”