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Contributing to flood defence and road safety

Trees and vegetation encroaching on a section of Arawa Road stopbank and roadside will be removed this week.

Kia Kaha Whakatāne contractors will be contributing to flood defence resilience and road safety this week, when they remove trees and some vegetation encroaching on a section of Arawa Road stopbank and roadside.

The vegetation is on the stopbank opposite Apanui-Ki-Whakatāne Kohanga Reo and extends past Trident High School.

The work has been planned to start during the school holidays when fewer cars will be parked in the area.

The removal work is an extension of the joint Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Whakatāne District Council Kia Kaha Whakatāne Project and addresses an issue that is of concern to both local authorities.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Project Manager Paula Chapman says inappropriate plantings can undermine the structural integrity of stopbanks in a variety of ways.

“In some cases they can topple and weaken an earth bank, but a greater problem is when tree roots rot away leaving a ‘pipe’ for water to travel into and erode the material within the flood defence.

“The Arawa Road work will be in two stages; first the tree, vegetation clearing and tidy-up and later the removal of stumps and roots which will take place as part of major stopbank strengthening programmed for 2022.”

Whakatāne District Council Manager Transportation Martin Taylor says the vegetation has outgrown the space and is now obstructing visibility for road users, while the Regional Council wants to remedy the community safety aspect of tree roots that have become embedded in the stopbank.

The tree removal work is expected to take a week, with the timber breakdown and tidy up to follow.

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