Surf casters who usually enjoy fishing at the mouth of the Kaituna River will need to find a new, temporary spot after this weekend.
Road access to Te Tumu Cut, also known as the Kaituna Cut, will close for six months.
The Ford Rd access to the Cut and Maketū Spit will closed from August 1 until December 20, to enable construction work that will restore 600,000 cubic metres of freshwater flows into Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi Maketū Estuary on every tidal cycle.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Kaituna catchments manager Pim de Monchy said the council knew the area was popular with people fishing "and we're really sorry for the inconvenience".
"But this project will benefit them in the long run with improved facilities, estuary health, and kaimoana (fish and shellfish) habitat."
Ford Rd is scheduled to re-open in time for Christmas fishing, but the Ford Rd boat ramp will remain closed until construction work is completed in June 2020. Whitebaiting the area will also be affected until June 2020, due to restricted water flow and stop bank access throughout the construction period. Bell Rd boat ramp will remain open throughout the construction period.
De Monchy said existing levels of boat access through Te Tumu Cut would be maintained once the project was complete. He said flood protection levels would also remain the same for properties in the Kaituna Catchment Scheme and Maketū township.
The regional council is funding and delivering the $16m Kaituna River re-diversion project that was first called for by the community in 1979. Construction work started in June this year. The project includes the creation of an 800m-long new channel to carry fresh water from the river, through a new enlarged diversion control structure and down a widened Ford's Cut, into the estuary. Existing stop banks will be shifted and upgraded. Project details are available at www.boprc.govt.nz/kaitunarediversion.
A quarterly community meeting is being held at 5.30pm on August 1 to give locals an update on project progress and plans, and the opportunity to ask questions. All are welcome to attend at Tukotahi Marae, 83 Ford Rd.