$24m flood safety and bridge venture in Franz Josef beneath assessment

Visitors have mixed feelings about the noise of helicopters at Franz Josef Glacier.


Authorities officers have put the brakes on the $24 million venture to shore up the floodwalls round Franz Josef Glacier village and construct a brand new bridge over the wild Waiho (Waiau) River.

Visitors have mixed feelings about the noise of helicopters at Franz Josef Glacier.

Guests have blended emotions in regards to the noise of helicopters at Franz Josef Glacier.
Picture: RNZ / Tess Brunton

The work has been keenly awaited as a method to reboot the glacier financial system, which has stalled since Covid-19 and the lack of worldwide tourism.

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor stated he believes funding will ultimately be launched.

However the plan to high up the stopbanks by an additional 2m, lengthen them and construct a brand new bridge is beneath assessment because the businesses concerned verify to make sure taxpayers’ cash just isn’t being wasted, he stated.

Funding for the Franz Josef venture from the provincial development fund was introduced with fanfare by NZ First MP Fletcher Tabuteau in Greymouth final July.

It was one in all 4 flood safety proposals submitted by the West Coast Regional Council in response to the federal government’s name for ‘shovel-ready’ tasks to spice up the financial system.

Whereas the opposite three river safety tasks in Westport, Hokitika and Greymouth have been authorized, O’Connor says the assorted businesses concerned – together with the Provincial Improvement Unit and the NZ Transport Company – are taking a second, laborious have a look at the Franz Josef one.

For the reason that election, the brand new minister for regional financial growth Stuart Nash had been reviewing all the main shovel-ready tasks by way of their long-term worth to the nation, O’Connor stated.

“And so he ought to – it is solely wise as a result of he is now the one who will probably be held accountable for them.”

O’Connor stated the issue was that elevating the stopbanks was not a long-lasting repair for the hazards going through Franz Josef.

“Nobody needs to throw good cash after dangerous. The Waiho River is exclusive on the earth – the mattress is rising on a regular basis with gravel coming down from the mountains; it needs to fan out to the south, and dumping extra rock to attempt to confine it’s all the time going to be a short lived answer.”

The West Coast Regional Council has stated the floodwall venture would purchase the glacier city time to ultimately migrate northwards to Lake Mapourika, away from the river and the Alpine Fault it perched on.

However O’Connor stated councils had been saying that for the previous 30 years.

“The issue is that they’ve by no means provide you with a good plan for Franz Josef – it is all the time been advert hoc and muddled growth there.”

The PGF funding authorized for Franz Josef was for the event of a sustainable answer for the township however thus far no plan for that had emerged, he stated.

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith final week implored the Authorities to launch $12m of the Franz funding bundle to at the very least get contractors engaged on the north financial institution of the Waiho, the place there was no dispute, to inject some cash into the city’s moribund companies.

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Native Democracy Reporting is a public curiosity information service supported by RNZ, the Information Publishers’ Affiliation and NZ On Air.

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