31 Mar 2016

Franz Josef stop-banks to get boost

12:38 am on 31 March 2016

The Westland District Council says it has a plan for extensive work to stop-banks in Franz Josef after a river flooded last week.

Nearly 200 people had to be evacuated when the Waiho River burst its banks and tore through the Mueller Scenic Circle hotel.

The Franz Josef Working Group held a meeting with the council and engineers this morning, where a plan was put in place.

Westland District Mayor Mike Havill said the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the West Coast Regional Council would oversee the work, but beneficiaries such as the hotel would have to contribute to the cost.

Mr Havill said it was unclear how much it would cost, but emergency work was already underway.

"The NZTA have been doing work on the river all week, building up the gravel stop bank near the hotel, but we should have a plan for more permanent work within the next six weeks.

"The stop-banks will be extended down the river to protect the hotel, school and holiday park which are currently at risk," Mr Havill said.

The council will meet with the affected businesses soon.

Mr Havill said the Franz Working Group was working on future planning for the town and places where it was safe to develop.

"We need to keep progressing the town, it is a great destination for tourists and it's humming so we want to keep it that way."

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