Ford Road access to Te Tumu Cut and Maketū Spit will be closed from 1 August until 20 December, to enable construction work that will restore 600,000 cubic metres of freshwater flows into Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi Maketū Estuary on every tidal cycle.
"We know the area is popular with fishers and we're really sorry for the inconvenience. But this project will benefit them in the long run with improved facilities, estuary health, and kaimoana (fish and shellfish) habitat," said Bay of Plenty Regional Council Kaituna Catchments Manager Pim de Monchy.
Ford Road is scheduled to re-open in time for Christmas fishing, but the Ford Road boat ramp will remain closed until construction work is completed in June 2020. White-baiting in Ford's Cut will also be affected until June 2020, due to restricted water flow and stop bank access throughout the construction period. Bell Road boat ramp will remain open throughout the construction period.
Mr de Monchy said that existing levels of boat access through Te Tumu Cut (also known as the Kaituna Cut) will be maintained once the project is complete. He said that flood protection levels will also remain the same for properties in the Kaituna Catchment Scheme and Maketū township.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is funding and delivering the $16m Kaituna River re-diversion project that was first called for by the community in 1979. Construction work started in June this year. The project includes creation of an 800m long new channel to carry fresh water from the river, through a new enlarged diversion control structure and down a widened Ford's Cut, into the estuary. Existing stop banks will be shifted and upgraded.