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Palmerston North City Council seeking action on riverbank protection for Ashhurst Domain

Wednesday April 19 2017

Palmerston North City Council is to explore riverbank protection work for the Ashhurst Domain as soon as possible under emergency provisions.

The recommendation was made at the Council’s Finance and Performance meeting today.

The right bank of the Manawatū River within the Domain has been eroding since a major flood in June 2015.

The land in the Ashhurst Domain is owned by the Palmerston North City Council.

"Heavy rain in early April caused further significant erosion and this has confirmed the need to establish protection work as soon as possible," says Palmerston North City Council City Networks General Manager Ray Swadel.

"The state highway bridge immediately downstream owned by NZTA is vulnerable to losing its western approach if the bank erosion continues unhindered," he says.

Mr Swadel says Powerco is also looking at the potential impact of the erosion on its powerlines across the river.

Horizons Regional Council is responsible for overseeing the management of the Manawatū River but the 700 metre stretch of the riverbank in question is outside the boundaries of its Lower Manawatū River Management Scheme. It is the only part of the river that is not protected.

Today, Palmerston North City Council’s Finance and Performance Committee called on Horizons to make that section of the river part of the scheme.

It also called on all parties to share in the costs of using rock lining as a means to protect the exposed bank.

"We’ve got to put this right as soon as possible. I’m disappointed that action by all parties has been so slow. We believe that all parties should also share this responsibility," says Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith.

The cost of erosion protection had been estimated at $800,000 but could be more. Horizons has currently offered to contribute a total of $80,000 to the project.

The scope of the project along with the costs will be reviewed and a multi-party agreement prepared between the parties.

A report will be prepared for the next Finance and Performance Committee meeting in June.