An Environment Court hearing held this month has brought Bay of Plenty Regional Council one step closer to delivering on community aspirations for a healthier Maketu Estuary.
"After a really rigorous process of community consultation and feasibility assessments, we identified a preferred option for re-diverting twenty percent of the Kaituna River's freshwater flows back into the Maketu estuary.
The required resource consents and land designations have been approved and we expect to receive the Environment Court decision on cultural impact provisions next month. In the meantime we're finalising detailed designs and we're on track to start phase one construction works this summer," said Regional Council Kaituna catchments manager Pim de Monchy.
Mr de Monchy said that Regional Council considered 18 different methods and options for re-diverting the Kaituna River and creating new wetlands before making a final decision.
"All the options were considered and assessed by a range of engineering, hydrology, ecology, and planning experts, alongside feedback from iwi and the community.
The option we've chosen offers the greatest chance of success in achieving the goal of returning as much Kaituna River water to Ongatoro / Maketu Estuary as possible, and maximising the ecological and cultural benefits (particularly wetlands and kaimoana), while keeping Te Tumu cut open for boating access and flood management," said Mr de Monchy.
Further information and updates on the Kaituna River Re-diversion and Ongatoro Maketu Estuary Enhancement project are available at www.boprc.govt.nz/kaitunamaketurediversion.