The West Coast Regional Council says it is aware of ‘seepage” from a stopbank at Franz Josef.
However, efforts to send staff there at the weekend to monitor the Waiho (Waiau) River as the storm kicked in were hampered by the closure of State Highway 6 due to slips.
A resident contacted Local Democracy Reporting last week voicing concern about water seeping through the stopbank between the ‘Havill Wall’ and the former Scenic Circle Hotel bank.
The hotel was ruined as a result of the April 2016 flood which broke through a stopbank protecting SH6 at that point.
Acting operations manager Colin Munn said yesterday the council had sent staff to have a look, in light of the forecast storm.
“We went down and looked at it. [The engineer] did note some areas that we need to have another look at,” Munn said.
“Over the weekend we sent people down there to be on site. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it because the road was closed … it’s always a concern when people start reporting things. We did try and get some eyes on it ourselves.”
However, Munn said some seepage, particularly through older stopbanks, was not unprecedented.
“All the banks do seep to some extent.”
As well, the council was dealing with a number of stopbanks in the area of varying construction.
“It’s complicated, also, because all those stopbanks are owned by different people. At this stage I’m still waiting to get something more substantial.”
Munn said the worry around bank seep was one reason the council wanted to advance the entire $24 million Waiho River protection scheme.
Stage one on the northern bank has been stalled due to the regional council awaiting affected party signoff from the Scenic Circle Group.
The money for stage two has been allocated but has yet to be released by the government.
Munn said in the interim the council was continuing some preliminary work “to get the alignment right” for the northern bank work.
This included doing river training work upstream to help keep the river from the northern bank planned work.
“On top of that we’ve got that dynamic river that is doing its own thing.”
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz