A long-awaited independent report on the future of the Warkworth weir is likely to recommend that the structure be removed.
The report will be presented to a Rodney Local Board workshop this week (November 4).
Prepared by NIWA, the ecological report looks at some of the issues raised at a public meeting in Warkworth in February last year. These issues included the suitability of upstream habitat and water quality for native fish, and the significance of the weir as a fish barrier.
Council officers want the weir removed because of its detrimental impact on passage of native fish, particularly whitebait. Its removal is a permitted activity that requires no resource consent or public notification.
The NIWA report investigates various options for achieving fish passage, but it is understood that its conclusions broadly support Council’s proposal that removing the weir and reinstating the natural conditions would improve the biodiversity of the river.
In 2018, Council conducted some community consultation on the question of removing the weir, which received both positive and negative feedback. Those opposing the idea cited the weir’s historic value and questioned whether removing it would actually allow fish to utilise areas upstream.
As well as the ecological study, Council also commissioned an archaeological study of the weir, which was originally built to facilitate the supply of water to the Wilson cement works. The weir is estimated to be about 100 years old.