29 January 2009
Hamilton City Council is bringing residents up-to-date with a new strategy outlining the environmental management of the Waikato River for the next 50 years. The strategy is the culmination of a multi-agency project aimed at addressing river instability hazards of which Hamilton City Council was a member.
The Central Waikato River Stability Management Strategy 2008-2058 has been developed to provide a coordinated strategy for managing the stability of the Waikato River between Karapiro and Ngaruawahia. It has been developed collaboratively between Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council, Waipa District Council, Tainui, Mighty River Power and Environment Waikato, and concentrates particularly on the potential effects of river bed erosion and river bank instability. One part of the project has involved the identification of areas adjacent to the Waikato River which are potentially subject to erosion hazard over the next 50 years.
Hamilton City Council has an obligation under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act to bring the new hazard information to the attention of affected property owners. The Council has written directly to those who have properties next to the river explaining the management strategy and any implications for their property. Council is required to put this information on relevant property files. This information will be available for people who apply for a land information memorandum (LIM) from Council, prior to purchasing a property.
Owners of properties which bound the river are already required to obtain specialist engineering advice prior to undertaking work on their site. This requirement is in line with outcomes contained in the new strategy.
The comprehensive hazard assessment of the Waikato River bed and banks has highlighted that more careful and watchful management of areas immediately alongside the river is necessary.
There are several influences on the river system which are considered under an overarching river stability strategy, including:
- The effects of the dam at Karapiro
An increasing desire by landowners and developers to develop close to the river
Bank instability which may be increased in some areas due to bed lowering associated with the hydro dams
The need to ensure future development close to the river does not result in the community being forced into expensive river control/engineering works to protect these developments.
An increasing appreciation of the river's natural values and the need to protect them
City Planning and Environmental Services general manager Brian Croad says that heavy rain experienced last winter resulting in river side land slips through the city highlights graphically what can happen in regard to bank instability.
"There were three significant river bank slips in as many weeks through this central city zone in August this year. River banks slips through the central city are a reminder of stability issues that are ever present and that care is required when developing land near the river."
"Some of the risks and hazards which have been identified in the report have always been there. The river is constantly changing and careful management of how development occurs is an ongoing responsibility."
A public meeting for residents with properties identified in the strategy will take place on Thursday, 26 February at 7.30pm in the Reception Lounge, Hamilton City Council Building, Garden Place. Staff from Hamilton City Council, Environment Waikato and Beca Consulting will be available to outline the strategy and answer questions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Phil Saunders
Designation: Building Control Manager
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6541
Mobile: 021 775 623
Name: Kylee Bruce
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile: 021 816 917
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761