Waihao Box Reserve reopens

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The Waihao Box Reserve was reopened to the public at the weekend after being closed for maintenance since February.

The reserve had been closed while Environment Canterbury carried out complex repairs on the Waihao Box drainage system.

Area engineer (southern) Bruce Scarlett said excellent progress had been made on the project in recent weeks after bad weather, flooding and heavy seas had slowed work down in early winter.

“We have had a reasonable run and the Waihao Box is now back working as intended to provide effective drainage for the Waihao River and Wainono Lagoon catchments,” he said.

The project was one of the most extensive reconstructions ever carried out on the box, which is more than a century old. It will improve its effectiveness, which had decreased in recent years because of damage caused by regular pounding by heavy seas.

The work involved replacing rotting timbers and piles and repositioning the box in response to changes in the beach profile and cost an estimated $400,000. Public access to the reserve had been closed during the work because of the hazardous nature of the project.

“We’re confident that the box will now be operating well for many more decades to come,” Mr Scarlett said.