Sunday, March 3, 2024

Whakatāne breaks ground on river resilience project

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has broken ground on Stage One of Project Future Proof, a multi-stage, multi-year project to replace and improve the flood defences along the Whakatāne river’s CBD stretches.

The Council says Stage One of the project will improve the flood defences from the McAlister Street Pump Station to the Whakatāne iSite. The existing stopbanks will be increased in width and height, while the existing floodwalls will be removed and replaced in phases, to ensure the current flood protection remains while the works are happening.

Council Engineering Manager, Mark Townsend says breaking ground on the first stage of this project is a significant milestone – the culmination of years of research, modelling and data analysis, as well as collaborative discussions with Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council.

“We’re very pleased to be taking this first step of Project Future Proof alongside our partners. We recognise the impact that a significant flood event has on the Whakatāne community; these upgrades are an important part of reducing the risk that increasing weather events pose to people, property and livelihoods,” he said.

While construction is underway, there will be disruption to the community, with the Warren Cole Walkway to be closed around the work site and a detour set up for walkway users.

Kakahoroa Drive will be reduced to one lane from The Warehouse entrance to the roundabout by the iSite, creating a one-way system. Eastbound vehicles will be required to follow a detour through town. The carparks in this section will be inaccessible.

Mr Townsend said the Regional Council thanked residents for their patience and understanding.

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