Funding has been allocated to the Rangitīkei River enhancement as part of the $26.9 million climate resilience package for the Manawatū-Whanganui Region.
Six regions will receive funding from the $3 billion allocated to infrastructure projects from the Government's Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Horizons Regional Council river management group manager Ramon Strong said the project was one of five put forward as shovel-ready applications, and was still conceptual at this stage.
The project will receive 75 per cent of the estimated $5.2 million needed for the project from central government.
Strong said he would go to the council to see if it would allow the five projects to proceed and if it would provide the extra 25 per cent of the funding required for the Rangitīkei project.
He said over the past 12 to 18 months the council had been looking at ways to manage the reach of the Rangitīkei River that sits within the Rangitīkei scheme, which runs from Rata to Vinegar Hill and further downstream towards the Bulls Bridge.
"The shovel-ready applications focus on the reach near the Bulls bridge as in 2018 it came close to carving itself a whole new course alongside the stopbank so it's been a major issue and concern for Horizons so the strategy was looking at whether we were managing the river in the most effective way," he said.
"We got partway along that strategy development and then the lockdown happened and all of sudden there's a request for shovel-ready projects."
He said they wanted to give the river a bit more room to widen the reach of the river downstream from the Bulls Bridge and wanted to look at improving biodiversity over the reach.
"We want to do a lot more native planting and looking at things like shared pathways as well and potentially some enhancement of the rest area underneath the bridge as there been an ongoing fly-tipping issue under there, so we will be working with the district council closely on that."
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He hopes the funding will help beautify the area and reduce the fly-tipping problem over time.
Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said it was estimated the projects funded would create about 490 jobs. Within the Manawatū-Whanganui region, 36 jobs were expected to be created.
Strong said he would be very surprised if the number of jobs created was a lot bigger then that.
"But because we were having a very rough estimate of a number of jobs I didn't want to over-promise and under-deliver in that space."
He said they were "putting the cart before the horse a little bit in terms of not having fully developed their strategy around the enhancement" so he would be engaging with iwi, Horizons and Rangitīkei District Council at its meeting at the end of the month.
Rangitīkei mayor Andy Watson said "fundamentally any money that we get within our catchments from the Government I'm thrilled by".
The four other projects around the region include flood protection for Foxton, Palmerston North Kumeroa Quarry and the lower Manawatū.