Franz Joseph may have to move

Long Lunch 09/04/2018
Photo: File

Moving a whole town might sound extreme, but that could soon be a reality for one South Island community, in an effort to keep its residents safe.

Franz Josef has an alpine fault running through the town, and on top of that, has grading issues with the river which will see it potentially rise two metres every 10 years.

Mayor of Westland Bruce Smith joined Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch to talk about the possibility of the iconic Kiwi tourist town moving either completely or partly away from its surrounding natural hazards. 

He says the town has been threatened by hazards for many years.

“We’ve got gravel build up in the river; we’re sitting on an earthquake fault line, and there’s a suggestion that one of the hills might fall down if the alpine fault shifts.”

There are now calls for the town to be moved.

Mr Smith says it’s being driven by a report commissioned by an Auckland based consultancy firm who came up with three options on the future of Franz Josef.

“[There are] a number of discussions that need to be had before the reality of shifting the town becomes something that actually occurs,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Bruce Smith above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.