Gore’s new stopbank ready to weather the storms

A new stopbank along Ontario and Toronto streets in Gore is a significant improvement on the former concrete flood protection wall, Environment Southland catchment operations manager Randal Beal says.

It has taken Linton Contracting about five months to build the stopbank.

Mr Beal said the stopbank provided the same level of protection as other Gore stopbanks.

‘‘Ensuring the stopbanks protecting Gore are all at the same height has been a priority for us and now all areas of Gore have an even level of protection.’’

The September flooding was a reminder of the importance of maintaining and future-proofing Southland’s flood protection networks, he said.

‘‘Fortunately, there was no damage to the new stopbank, which was still under construction.

‘‘Despite losing a few days due to wet ground conditions, Linton Contracting was able to complete the project on time.’’

Most of the fencing removed during the construction works has been reinstated, and the stopbank has been hydroseeded (sprayed with a combination of grass seed, water and mulch).

The new stopbank was built using 40,000 tonnes of gravel from the gravel island just downstream of the bridge in Mataura.

The build-up of gravel in this part of the Mataura River increased following the February 2020 floods.

Its removal will provide more capacity for floodwater in future flooding.

High-risk trees have also been removed from the stopbank along River and Richmond Sts and stumps are scheduled to be removed this summer.

Meanwhile, work to upgrade the stopbanks in Wyndham have resumed after pausing over winter as the ground conditions were unsuitable for construction.

In Mataura, good progress is being made to install rock protection along 710m of the true right bank to strengthen the main riverbanks within the township.

These projects are expected to be completed before Christmas.

Environment Southland’s next phase of climate resilience work for Gore, Wyndham and Mataura will be informed by 2D hydraulic modelling.

This information will provide better information for predicting flood heights and making decisions about the future heights of any new stopbanks.

These projects are among seven Resilient River Communities initiatives cofunded by Environment Southland and the government’s Kānoa — Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.