$524k boost for Whangārei urban waterways

8 Jul 2020, 10:52 AM

A welcome boost for the future of freshwater quality is how Northland Regional Council describes the newly-announced $524,000 of government funding for Whangārei urban waterways.

The government on Sunday (5 July) announced a package of 22 projects put forward by local councils to help clean up waterways and deliver jobs around the country, for a total of $62M.

The new Whangārei urban waterways funding will focus on riparian fencing and planting along the Raumanga and Waiarohia streams and in the Hātea River catchment downstream of the iconic Otuihau Whangārei Falls.

It will support work that has been happening for a number of years in the wider Whangārei catchment to improve water quality, says Northland Regional Council’s Whangārei Urban constituency representative Jack Craw.

“Our council has been working alongside Whangarei District Council, tangata whenua, industry, landowners and many others to improve water quality here, and we’re really pleased to receive this new funding to help build on that work.”

The new project funding is expected to create several new jobs, mainly as fencing and planting contractors to deliver the work.

“Not only will this project have real environmental benefits, but it will also create much-needed employment opportunities in the area – it’s a real win-win,” says Councillor Craw.

“We’ll be working closely with our partners to keep building on the positive work and relationships and get the best outcomes for our waterways with this project.”

Lorna Douglas, the regional council’s Eastern Coast Land Manager, says the new funding comes as the regional council reaches the final months of a three-year project focussed on the upper Hātea, to improve water quality in the river.

“So far the upper Hātea project has resulted in roughly 20 kilometres of riparian fencing and 18,000 native riparian plants going into the ground, both of which will contribute to improved water quality,” says Ms Douglas.

“The new project funding will support more fencing and planting in the lower Hātea River catchment and along other key waterways in urban Whangārei which is great – we all want to see water quality improving in our rivers and streams.”

Ms Douglas says over the coming months the regional council will be ironing out the details with the new project funding to get work happening as quickly as possible.

Student with hammer and fence post.

The new government funding for Whangārei urban waterways is expected to create several new jobs, mainly as fencing and planting contractors. (This photo was taken at a ‘WaiFencing’ training day last year in the upper Hātea catchment, run under Northland Regional Council’s Enviroschools programme to develop local skills and qualifications for building fences to exclude stock from waterways.)