Early Christmas present for the Hutt with river trail opening ahead of schedule
Hutt Valley residents will be able to get that post-Christmas meal walk in along the Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt River) this year with a popular section of the trail re-opening ahead of schedule, on Christmas Eve.
The dousing of heavy rain in July this year eroded several areas including the scenic stretch between Trentham Memorial Park and Heretaunga which was closed for public safety.
The restoration work was carried out by Mills Albert, a local, Māori-owned contractor. Paul Albert, General Manager, said “we’ve added in a protective rock wall along the bank and rock groynes, which are walls built out from a riverbank into a river, to protect it from further erosion”.
As locals and holiday makers prepare to run and roam the riverbank again, work has started on ensuring rivers like Te Awa Kairangi are future fit for potential flooding events.
“We've seen first-hand the need for greater protection of our taonga, such as Te Awa Kairangi, from increasingly worse and frequent climate driven storms and flood events said Ros Connelly, Greater Wellington Councillor for Upper Hutt and an avid user of the trail.
“Factor in the trail’s dual function as a popular recreation area and transport link between Upper and Lower Hutt and the need is greater still”.
Offering a solution to this need, and the wider project this work falls under, is the Resilient River Communities programme (RRC).
Funded by Greater Wellington, Kānoa – the government’s Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit - and Hutt and Upper Hutt City Councils, RRC aims to build resilient river communities and minimise the environmental, economic and social damage caused by flooding.
“Significant levels of investment are required to respond to the growing flood frequency and magnitude. Collaborative funding provided by such projects are enabling councils to respond with greater confidence” said Graeme Campbell, Manager Flood Protection at Greater Wellington.
Further support from Greater Wellington’s Flood Protection department comes in the form of riverbank planting next winter.
When the river trail re opens, a total of 320 metres will have been rebuilt and around 5,500 tonnes of rock used.
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