There has been much interest in the Advocates position on the Gravel extraction consent which has been applied for by Environment Waikato.
Turangi experienced a 1 in 100 year flood in February 2004. The flood of 1958 was slightly larger and caused much damage within the river environment. Should another flood the size of 1958 or 2004 return then Turangi is in danger of flooding. Apart from moving the town to another location which is not a realistic option, the town can be protected by increasing the size of the stop banks or removing material that has built up and which endangers the town.
Given this option the Advocates support the removal of gravel and volcanic ash from the river bed to assist the river to move the bed load through to the lake. We do however have reservations about the consent document.
Our concerns are:
1. The action is piecemeal and not part of an overall plan for the river. Our desire is for an Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP) to focus on the whole river and not just a section of it. We want to see an ICMP.
2. The consent period is for 35 years. We see a period of 3 years as reasonable at this time.
3. The consent document is too broad and lacks detail. Many who have seen the document think that 150,000 cubic meters per year will be removedeach year for 35 years, which is not the case, but can be read into the intent of the document. There is concern at the meaning of “diverting the river from the area of the Hydro Pool” by many.
4. The river as a fishery is seen as threatened by many. We don’t see the threat given that the fishery was not affected by the gravel removals at the time of the construction of the town and again recently when some 30,000 cubic meters were removed. We wish to see the consent spell out more strongly the protection of the fishery
The full consent document can be read by clicking on ftp://tongarirorivapps:PrUkcflx@pubftp.ew.govt.nz
It is a big document and takes time to load.
The Advocates will make a submission on these points and other such as an opportunity to dredge the mouth of the river. If you wish to make a submission then it must be with Environment Waikato by the 17th December.
An opportunity exists for you to give us your opinions through this website and we would welcome your opinions.