Victoria Esplanade erosion after floods distresses councillor
Flood damage threatening a section of the Manawatu Riverside shared pathway at Victoria Esplanade has prompted calls for a quick fix before it gets worse.
A section of the pathway is fenced off where flooding in July saw the river cut in dangerously close to the path.
Palmerston North city councillor Adrian Broad said it would only take another flood for the river to take away more of the bank.
A picnic table just downstream of the fenced area was also close to the edge and likely to be lost, he said.
"I've lived in that area for more than 30 years. I've got a lot of pleasure from the walkway and since we tarsealed it, it has become even more popular.
"It's upsetting to see what's happened, and I'm looking for some action quickly."
Broad said unless the erosion problem was taken seriously, he feared it would become worse, as the loss of land at the Ashhurst Domain had accelerated while nothing was done to prevent it.
But while the domain fell outside Horizons' river management schemes, the Esplanade was covered by the lower Manawatu scheme that was Horizons' responsibility.
Broad said the city council had invested a lot in the pathway and in making the riverside area accessible and attractive.
"We have done a lot of good work, and I was pretty proud of it.
"It's important that we keep that key piece of the network."
Broad said while Horizons Regional Council had strengthened the river banks around the Fitzherbert Bridge and Dittmer Drive, the section in between behind the Esplanade bush tracks seemed to have been a bit neglected.
City council leisure assets officer Brian Way said both councils were aware of the damage, and designing a solution was seen as an urgent project.
"But we cannot magic rocks out of nowhere, and need to do some design work."
Way said people needed to be realistic about how much could be done to prevent the river causing damage between the stopbanks as it flowed through the city.
He said remedial work had to wait until the area dried out a bit, otherwise heavy machinery could make the damage worse.
There was plenty of room to re-route the pathway further away from the river if that was necessary.
Horizons Regional Council group manager river management Ramon Strong said the two councils were working together to solve the problem.
"Repairs to the area will be made as soon as conditions allow," he said.