Revamped spillway, new stock bridge opened

4 Jul 2016

A revamped Whangatane spillway and associated 54-metre long stock bridge 2.5km downstream have been officially opened in a low-key ceremony in Kaitaia.

The weir and bridge works are the latest in a series of scheme improvements the Northland Regional Council and Awanui River Management Liaison Committee have approved on behalf of the local community in recent years.

About 30 people, including regional councillors and staff, liaison committee members, local MP Winston Peters, landowners, contractors and iwi attended the ceremony at Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre on Friday to mark their official opening. Site visits to the spillway and bridge followed.

The $150,000 of spillway weir modifications and the $250,000 bridge were completed earlier this year in separate contracts, the first by Far North Roading Ltd and the other by Steve Bowling Contracting Ltd.

The weir works reduce the flood risk to urban Kaitaia by lowering peak flood level at the spillway intake and upstream along the Awanui River through Kaitaia. They also reduce the 'backwater effect' at bridges across the Awanui River through Kaitaia itself, as well as help floodwaters drain more quickly from Lake Tangonge.

While thousands of people will benefit from the improvements, they will come at the cost of more frequent flooding of the spillway, which runs through at least half a dozen downstream farms.

Two of the most affected properties are adjoining, but separate farms, one owned by Malcolm Matthews and the other by Roger Matthews. Both properties straddle the spillway and the council built the bridge to allow stock to move from one side to the other during the wetter months.