Balancing good environmental results with affordability
The May 2005 disaster saw an estimated 700,000 m3 of rocks, silt and organic material discharged onto the Matata coastal fan, disrupting road and rail links and destroying houses.
Boffa Miskell’s ecologists, planners, landscape architects and cultural advisors have worked closely with the Whakatane District Council project team and specialist engineers from Tonkin and Taylor Ltd to design and gain resource consents for the works required over four affected stream catchments.
Matata Lagoon, formally known as Te Awa o te Atua, is a highly valued landscape, ecological and cultural feature that was virtually destroyed by the debris flow. It was decided to rehabilitate the lagoon and environs in tandem with the hazard reduction works. Boffa Miskell prepared a landscape and revegetation plan to guide the long-term rehabilitation works, aiming to achieve the necessary balance between good environmental results and the affordability required by the council. The resource consent granted by an independent commissioner was appealed to the Environment Court on wide-ranging issues including potential effects on cultural values, engineering feasibility and the economic impact on the community of rate funding the works. The Environment Court confirmed the Commissioner’s decision and physical works commenced in 2009.
The Matata Lagoon is now back, following dredging of the deposited silt and debris, and revegetation has begun. Restoring the area’s natural character is a long-term prospect but, already, the lagoon environment is starting to provide a habitat for native flora and fauna, and a destination for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Ecology, planning, landscape architecture and cultural advice.