Progress on restoring the flow to the Manawatu River Loop at Foxton was highlighted at a public meeting on Sunday.
Save our River Trust (SoRT) spoke to interested parties at the Manawatu College Hall about the history of the loop and the progress it had made following a resource consent granted to the organisation in November 2016 to restore, beautify and undertake maintenance works on the loop by the Foxton town frontage.
The next phase is to increase the water flow, volume and velocity by dredging out the original river channel. It's a short-term solution as sediment will build up every time the Moutua floodgates open, until a permanent solution is found to restore the continuous river flow into the loop. However, a feasibility study has been completed and an engineering solution proposed that will accomplish this.
SoRT is intending to ask the Government to honour its undertakingof the 1940s and 50s to restore the heath of the river at Foxton.
Horizons Regional councillor Colleen Sheldon spoke at the meeting and said for many years Foxton residents and visitors had watched the degradation of the waterway as progressive governments and councils put it in the "too hard basket".
"Sheep and beef farms were established along the river wetlands and swamps were drained and forests were felled. In 1942 a cut was put in to relieve flooding pressure in the catchment. A significant flood washed through the cut and changed the path of its original design."
She said the flood relief sought by the government and local councils of the time to extend the economic viability of agricultural land, in hindsight did nothing for the people of Foxton.
"If we believe the trickle down effect worked in terms of social and economic equality ... this has been a town and its people who have in recent times lost their ability to fish, recreate and more importantly allow its river to provide the eco system services that nature freely gives."