Ecologists Laura Drummond and Hamish Peacock from PDP on March 31 revealed the findings of the feasibility study into a passage way between Jollies Brook and the Rakaia Lagoon at a public meeting in Lakeside Soldiers Memorial.
Around a dozen Rakaia Huts residents, local landowners, ESAI members and other interested parties attended the event and were given the opportunity to view concept plans and asked questions. General feedback from those that attended was very positive and many would like to see the project go ahead.
This project was first initiated by Lindsay Gilbert back in June 2021 when the Tinaku Project was assisting Lindsay with a restoration project on his property along Jollies Brook.
Lindsay had mentioned to David Hewson, Tinaku Project manager, that currently there was no access for native species to be able to travel up Jollies Brook as access to the sea was prevented by a blocked culvert.
Tim Ridgen, another local landowner , also had similar ideas about extending the wetland to include an area which he has extensively planted on his land and implementing an opening to the Rakaia Lagoon.
Project Tinaku made a submission with Environment Canterbury to apply for a grant through the Regional Fish Habitat Fund to finance a feasibility study into the project.
This grant was approved and soon after PDP, a local engineering and environmental consultancy firm were appointed to conduct the in-depth study.
Results of the study found that there could indeed be benefits to opening the passage, it would allow native fish species to migrate up into Jollies Brook to spawn and also restore the natural drainage pathways returning the wetland to its former extent.
Once the viability of the project has been fully investigated funding sources will need to be explored to progress the project to the next stage