Further delays to Anzac Cliffs diversion

Delays continue to dog Horizons Regional Council's $3 million project to divert the Manawatu River away from the base of the Anzac Cliffs, Palmerston North.

Group operations manager Allan Cook told Horizons' catchment operations committee yesterday that before the project could move forward, the design of proposed foundation improvement works needed to be signed off by the Palmerston North City Council.

A contractor had been expected to be on site this month, however, it would be May before the work could start.

Horizons had also planned to start stockpiling rocks for the project on site by now. "However, as each week passes . . . the likelihood of that happening is diminishing."

He said he did not want to go ahead with stockpiling rock while a small risk remained that it might not be needed.

"We need to prove the foundation design works before we can absolutely commit to the next stage."

Cook said if supplying rock to the site had to wait until next summer, it would add pressure on what was already going to be a busy construction season.

The plan had been to install a series of stone columns on the beach that is currently on the city side of the river. The columns would provide the foundation for a buttress that would eventually run up against the cliff face.

Later in the project, the river would be redirected into a new channel, and the land at the top of the cliffs would be used to backfill behind the new wall, effectively turning the cliffs into a hill. The reshaping and realignment work are now planned to be carried out in the 2014-15 low river flow period.

The project is designed to stop the safety and sediment problems caused by erosion of the cliffs, protect the city-side stopbanks from the force of water angling back from the cliff face, and allow residential development at the top of the cliffs.

Resource consent was granted for the project in August 2011, but the conditions had required additional investigations to be completed.

The current complications meant a third summer construction season had been missed.

Manawatu Standard