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Kaituna River re-diversion research explained

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 11:00 a.m.

Interested locals can find out about the predicted effects of the proposed Kaituna River Re-diversion and Wetland Creation Project at a community drop-in afternoon being held this Saturday 3 May at Whakaue Marae, Maketu Road, Maketu.

Regional Council project manager Pim de Monchy said that people can drop in anytime between 2-4pm.

“We’ll have posters on display and experts on hand to chat to people and answer questions they might have about things like water quality, kaimoana, boating and swimming safety, landscape, wildlife and erosion. Afternoon tea will be provided too,” he said.

Regional Council is preparing to apply for resource consent to re-divert 20 percent of the Kaituna River flow back into the Ongatoro/Maketu. This will increase freshwater flow into the estuary and create approximately 20 hectares of new wetlands, while keeping Te Tumu cut open for flood protection and boating access.

Computerised predictions (modelling results) based on the proposed re-diversion method were presented to the community at a public meeting on 6 March. Since then, further social, cultural and ecological research has been completed and an Assessment of Environmental Effects has been prepared.

“On 3 May, we’ll outline what the modelling results mean in simple terms, and share the latest report findings. We’ll also have copies of the Assessment of Environmental Effects summary available for people to take away with them,” said Mr de Monchy.

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve thoroughly assessed the potential methods, likely benefits and risks of the project, we’ve talked to the community and landowners about how the re-diversion might affect them and we’ve adapted our planning and design in response to that,” said Mr de Monchy.

“Our proposed re-diversion option will enable people to keep enjoying the estuary, Te Tumu Cut and the Maketu Spit in much the same way as they always have,” said Mr de Monchy.

“Some things like wetland habitat, walking, kayaking and fishing access will improve. Erosion and flood risk are not expected to change significantly. Current shellfish gathering risks are likely to continue and increase a little at first, but this risk should reduce over time as bacterial concentrations in the Kaituna River continue to decrease. The re-diversion project won’t have any impact on paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) risk which is caused by naturally occurring toxins,” he said.

The next public meeting about the project will be held at Whakaue Marae, 6-7.30pm on Thursday 8 May to outline the consent process and answer any last questions before Regional Councillors make a decision on lodging the consent application.

Kaituna Maketu