Anzac Cliffs face safety makeover
Public access to a popular Manawatu River swimming spot opposite Anzac Cliffs is likely to be closed off this summer.
Horizons Regional Council will be shifting the river channel away from its current course which is eroding the base of the cliffs.
If the work goes ahead, including reshaping the sheer face into a hill, it would mean people could use the area next summer without danger of being hurt by rockfalls.
A hearing by commissioners considered Horizons' application for resource consent in Palmerston North yesterday.
It also heard property owner PMB Landco's proposals to recontour the cliffs into a slope behind the new rock wall on the far bank and secure the land at the top.
Commissioner Sue Scott paid particular attention to plans to plant the slope and provide public access to the new left bank.
Those aspects of the project were designed to make up for the loss of what was acknowledged by all parties as a dramatic landscape feature.
In the absence of submitters in opposition, the hearing focused on areas of disagreement about conditions.
Horizons' operations group objects to having to provide a construction environmental management plan before starting work.
Design engineer David Bell said it was unnecessary because the details were already in the resource application or would be covered by conditions.
It could create uncertainty about a start time for the project, when crews would be racing to complete the work during the summer.
Operations manager Allan Cook said any delays could be as serious as a flood.
"Maximum utilisation of the seasonal period of low river flows is imperative to the successful completion of construction.
"The quicker we can get in and get it finished, the better for all interests," he said.
But Horizons consents department planning consultant Dave Moule said supplying a Cemp report was best practice and it should not be an onerous task to provide it.
The provision of walkways from the planned subdivision at Vaucluse Heights down to the newly-created left-bank area was also a point of disagreement.
The city council sees the earthworks providing an opportunity to create pathways, but PMB Landco's planning consultant Lisa Poynton said the property owner should not have to pay for them.
She said forming pathways on the steep slope would be difficult, and probably expensive.
Public access down to the rock wall should be the city council's responsibility, and it was unfair to impose that requirement on PMB Landco, she said.
Horizons, PMB Landco and the city council have worked together to develop the project.
Mr Cook said there were three major reasons behind the proposed work: to protect the city-side stopbanks from damage as the river swings back acutely from the cliffs, to stop the danger of the cliffs collapsing into the river, and to secure land at the top for residential development.
The public will continue to be able to use the riverside walkway throughout the construction, although there will be 15 trucks laden with rock crossing from Albert St each day, starting as early as next month.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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