September 10, 2008

Flooding Mitigation Work Another Step Closer

By JAMIESON, Debbie in Queenstown

A$1.2 MILLION plan to redirect the Shotover River and help mitigate flooding in Queenstown came a step closer to reality this week.

The Otago Regional Council agreed to prepare resource consent applications to allow the construction of a "training wall" to shift the flow of the river, extract large amounts of gravel and remove three willow islands.

The plan involves the removal of up to 1 million cubic metres of gravel, sand and organic material from the Shotover River delta.

The goal is to assist the flow of water from Lake Wakatipu down the Kawarau River in the event of a flood.

ueenstown Lakes District Mayor Clive Geddes attended the regional council meeting and said afterwards it was a lake management programme.

"It won't cure flooding in Queenstown but if it operates in the way everyone expects the town should not be flooded over and above the extent of 1999 and hopefully it would not last as long because the lake would be able to start draining faster." The project would work in with several district council plans, he said.

They included the $37 million redevelopment of the oxidation ponds and new wastewater treatment facility, realisation of gravel extraction consents for the commercial sector, the provision of a highway corridor through the area and provision for an airport runway arrest area.

The regional council planned to lodge a suite of resource and land use consents next month, according to the meeting agenda. An "optimistic" scenario, excluding an Environment Court appeal, would have consents granted in February.

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