Continued work during lockdown future proofs key construction and remediation projects

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Lockdown impacted on businesses in many different ways and Taylors Contracting was no exception. Due to the need to continue crucial projects at sensitive stages of construction or to best protect the ongoing safety of people and property, Taylors Contracting was given permission to continue working on the Waimea Community Dam project and on post-flood remediation work in the several river catchments in the region.

“Work on the Waimea Community Dam was at a particularly important point,” says Taylors Contracting CEO, Charlie Taylor. “We needed to continue work to make sure that the build, at its current stage, was able to respond with resilience to a high level of rainfall.”

The rivers work was necessary following the storm event of 17 July 2021 which caused damage across the rivers of the region and affected the Motueka, Tadmor, and Motupiko catchments in particular. The rivers work was prioritised to ensure communities and infrastructure were protected, in the first instance, and close to 75 percent of those works are completed.

The river remediation was a complex project that began initially with Taylors Contracting rivers supervisors Ian Hogg and then Martin Gorrill using UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to assess damage and collect data while the river levels were still elevated to gain an insight into how rivers are behaving in flood conditions. Using UAVs is a great way of capturing footage of the worst affected areas while keeping people safe.

Image: Before the construction

This was followed by a planning session in conjunction with the planning team from Tasman District Council led by Rick Lowe viewing UAVs footage prior to a ground assessment.

“It’s important during this process to speak with residents living near rivers and work with them to understand the issues they are facing when river levels rise,” says Taylors Contracting Business Development Manager, David Robinson. “Work like this is a collaboration but we also know it can be quite disruptive for people. Ultimately people know we’re doing it to keep people safe and prevent properties from suffering damage.

“Storm and flooding events hit our region in different ways in different areas depending on how the weather event passes through, and council has to carefully plan the work. Work is prioritised to ensure protection of community safety, infrastructure, and high-value land used for cropping and horticulture. Careful consideration is given to the types of works used for remediation. Fortunately, we have a highly skilled and experienced Rivers Team to undertake the work.”

Work during level 4 included sourcing rock from local quarries and gaining access through residents’ properties to truck material to site, and then two-staging with dump trucks to place rock to armour the river margin.

“This is done using a series of spur groynes or rip rap where appropriate,” says Rivers Contract Manager for Taylors Contracting, Arnie Richards. “Bulldozers were also used on dry beaches to relocate gravel where it was deemed necessary by the engineer to manage the river away from eroding banks.

Image: After the construction

“Willow poles are also being planted to hold the bank where needed and to provide shading to the river. Fish like cooler water, so shading is important for river fauna.”

“Working around waterways is always very carefully managed,” says David. “Well maintained and modern, high-quality equipment is used to minimise the environmental impact of machinery on our rivers. Two new excavators have been purchased this year for the rivers maintenance contract that we have with Tasman District Council.

“We have work systems in place to monitor and ensure that all our activities comply with appropriate consents. We maintain a close working relationship with Tasman District Council staff to make sure all our work meets regulatory requirements.”

Charlie Taylor says the work undertaken during level 4 lockdown was a great example of teamwork and willingness to get the job done for the benefit of the wider community and he congratulates everyone who was involved from both Taylors Contracting and Tasman District Council.

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