Work on fixing the Mauao base track has begun with the aim of opening it to the public by Christmas.

Tauranga City Council said in a statement that contractors and council staff had started pruning trees and preparing the site for major works to begin early next week as they look to repair damage caused by ex-cyclone Debbie in April 2017.

The project has proceeded rapidly since a new council was elected in October, with frequent meetings between Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell, staff, the Mauao Trust, Heritage New Zealand and contractors to plan the works and get them under way as soon as possible.

Powell said it was time to get moving and fix the track so it could be enjoyed by everyone.

Advertisement

"Mauao is a special place that is unique to Tauranga, and people have been waiting a long time for the track to be restored.

 Some engineers, council staff, iwi representatives, planners and Heritage New Zealand representatives discuss future options for Mauao's base track. Photo / Kiri Gillespie
Some engineers, council staff, iwi representatives, planners and Heritage New Zealand representatives discuss future options for Mauao's base track. Photo / Kiri Gillespie

"We intend to repair the track quickly, and to come in at a fraction of the original budget," he said.

The statement did not say how much the repairs were expected to cost or how it would be funded.

According to the council, the quick action was part of a shift on their part to work more closely with communities to meet their needs and desires. Powell said it could not have happened without close collaboration with iwi.

READ MORE:
Mauao base track decision put on hold after costs jump by millions
Mauao base track reopens
Let us fix it - Mount residents rally for base track fix
Consent wait for new Mount Maunganui (Mauao) base track section

He said the new mantra at the council was one of 'active governance'.

"This means that intervention will take place if agreed plans go off track – including building and maintaining relationships with key partners in an environment of transparency and trust," he said.

After the cyclone, steps were installed to let people walk a loop around Mauao. This was considered a short-term fix because people with wheelchairs, prams and other mobility issues were unable to use the steps.

Advertisement

The plan for a permanent fix first approved by the council involved building a new 350m section of track and boardwalks along the beach. It would have been resilient to future slips. The last council got resource consent for the work but agreed to look at other options for fixing the track after cost estimates skyrocketed - potentially millions more than the $4.65 million budget approved.

The new plan involves minor excavations, clearing away the slip, re-aligning the track along the slope, installing a hand-rail and improving drainage.

The slope will be stabilised with landscaping, geotextile cloth and a method called 'soil nailing'.

The council said the Mauao Trust had been involved in putting the plan together.

The trust represents the three iwi of Tauranga Moana, who collectively own Mauao.

The new section of track will be less resilient to future slips, but is resilient enough to be acceptable to the trust, the mayor and Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao, Mauao Joint Administration Board, the council said.

It was also expected to cost much less than the approved budget.