Support for loop project growing

Last updated 11:40 07/02/2013

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Horowhenua Mail

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Campaigners for the clean-up and re- opening of the Foxton Loop of the Manawatu River are optimistic, with signs of cohesion among interested parties.

After a presentation by Save Our River Trust (SORT), including a public petition of more than 1000 signatures, the Foxton Community Board on Monday decided to form a working party to work with SORT on an action plan.

The petition, placed in stores around Foxton, would be used to lobby councils and in applications for grants to carry out environmental work.

SORT member Tony Murdoch said it had also been working with the environmental team at Horizons Regional Council.

SORT's proposal includes cutting a new 932 metre channel between the river and the loop to help create some permanent flow, as well as ongoing removal of silt build-up.

"Whatever we do to the loop, it's going to be high maintenance," he said.

"But the tourism potential is tremendous. It would really see the pieces coming together for Foxton"

Mr Murdoch said SORT would also like to see a dedicated wetlands and associated education centre established.

He said this would be "nationally significant" and encourage bio- diversity and feature the area's population of native fern birds and other wildlife.

Fellow SORT member Michael Feyen said with huge public support added to reopening the loop, the cause was gaining impetus.

"It's really starting to get legs and it looks like the stars are aligning for the river loop.

"We know all the rights and wrongs of the past. We just need to work on creating a new future," he said.

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- Horowhenua Mail

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