ECan targets river structures

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Safety concerns . . . Structures on the Cam River are said to pose a risk to public safety. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By DAVID HILL

The Waimakariri Zone Committee is stepping in to improve safety on the Cam River.

A pilot project to encourage people to remove illegal structures from the Cam River, which flows between Rangiora and Kaiapoi, is under way after Environment Canterbury (ECan) received calls from local residents concerned about the danger posed by the structures.

North Canterbury zone manager Andrew Arps says it is important for everyone to be able to use the river safely for recreational and navigational purposes.

“Some of these structures have been in the Cam River for decades and many of them are in poor condition, and if children stepped on them they could possibly give way and fall into the river.

“We are also concerned about erosion and sediment issues, along with navigational safety for those using the river for boating.

“Consent is required for any structure located in the bed of a waterway and there are currently dozens of illegal structures in the Cam River.”

Mr Arps says the owners of the structures will have until next year to remove them.

ECan consent officers will visit the river to talk to people using the structures about concerns.

“We have to be fair to everyone, so people will have a few months to remove the structures,” Mr Arps says.

“We’ll be out and about talking to people, so they understand the concerns of the local community.

“With summer approaching and more people using the river we need to make sure everyone can safely enjoy our waterways.”

With various projects under way to enhance the Cam River, including sediment removal, bank re-shaping, wetland drainage and bank raking, Mr Arps says it is vital the structures are removed to allow enhancement projects to achieve the desired outcomes.

“We’re working on a number of projects to enhance the Cam River and we want to make it an attractive feature for locals and visitors to Kaiapoi.

“It is important to have everyone working together so we can contribute to the regeneration of our river town.”

Notices will be placed on each structure to inform owners of the timeframe for removal.

If the structures are not removed, ECan will remove them.

If the pilot project is successful it could be extended to other water ways in the Waimakariri zone and the wider Canterbury region.

The Cam River is also set to be the subject of the first of a series of sub-catchment plans to be developed by the Waimakariri Zone Committee, once the draft Waimakariri sub-regional plan process is complete.