The sight of yet another dead pūkeko on Mill Rd has both sickened and angered Castlecliff resident Roger Shand.
He has seen about 12 birds killed on the road over the last year, as development continues at Westbourne Industrial Estate. Better planning could have avoided this or the birds could have been moved, he said.
But Whanganui District Council senior stormwater engineer Kritzo Venter said precautions will be taken and the situation will improve.
The new industrial area is slowly taking shape across land that used to be willows and wetland, Shand said.
"By the time they had finished draining and removing vegetation, there was no cover for [the pūkeko]. They need to physically lift them and put them somewhere else," he said.
"When you do a roading project surely you have an ecological assessment and you take that sort of thing into account and you deal with it. I think they have been called out."
But the area used to be farmland and is not a drained wetland, Venter said.
The council has planned a natural stormwater storage and treatment area on 2ha at the corner of Mosston and Mill roads, and purchased the land for it.
When it is built early next year it will become a wetland with good pūkeko habitat.
"There will be a bund constructed, an earthen wall, with an inlet and outlet, and planting of wetlands," Venter said.
Excess stormwater from the industrial area will drain along a new water main to Titoki Wetland and eventually out to the Whanganui River. It will be of good quality, and signs have been put up to warn drivers about pūkeko on the road.
There will be wetland where there was none before, Venter said.
"We are just going to make it better."
The effect of making that 120ha over to industry probably never had any ecological assessment, Venter said, because the land was bought in the 1980s and zoned industrial before the Resource Management Act was passed in 1991.
It has developed slowly since, with Mill Rd added in 1996 when the NDG Pine mill started.
In 2017 12 industrial lots were sold, and in 2019 a further 15 went on the market.
Now another 12ha, behind and adjacent to the new Wight Aluminium plant, is for sale.
Demand for the Whanganui industrial land is steady, Whanganui & Partners business growth advisor Tim Easton said.
Low cost could be one of its appeals. Priced at $80 to $170 per square metre, it is cheaper than industrial land in Auckland ($450 to $650 per square metre) and Hamilton ($250 to $400).