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Portage on Waveney canoe trail not likely in time for summer

PUBLISHED: 16:30 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:30 12 January 2018

Paddlers hoping that a safe portage will be constructed below Ellingham weir before summer will have to wait a bit longer. Picture: Frances Crickmore

Paddlers hoping that a safe portage will be constructed below Ellingham weir before summer will have to wait a bit longer. Picture: Frances Crickmore

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River Waveney Canoe Trail paddlers hoping for a safe portage to be constructed below Ellingham weir before the summer may have to wait a bit longer.

Paddlers hoping that a safe portage will be constructed below Ellingham weir before summer will have to wait a bit longer. Picture: Rod Cooke Paddlers hoping that a safe portage will be constructed below Ellingham weir before summer will have to wait a bit longer. Picture: Rod Cooke

The Broads Authority said it was currently investigating ways to protect the riverbank from erosion at the site before a portage could be constructed.

Paddlers on the canoe trail, which starts at Diss, tend to stop at Ellingham because of the lack of a portage below the weir.

A safe portage would allow them to carry their canoes over land and re-enter the water on the other side of the weir.

A Broads Authority spokeswoman said proper bank protection was needed before the portage could be built and as a result estimated costs of the project had gone up.

“Once (erosion protection plans) are agreed, BA officers will be applying for additional funding before sourcing a relevant engineering designer to draw up new plans,” said the spokeswoman.

BA Officers were unable to survey the site in September as planned because the bank was heavily overgrown and River Waveney Trust volunteers were tasked with clearing it.

Once cleared, BA officers discovered that a number of gabion baskets - metal baskets filled with stone which are installed as erosion protection measures - had collapsed into the river and the bank had been heavily eroded.

Officers, including a rivers engineer, then met with representatives from the Environment Agency in October to review the site.

It was agreed the entire project would need to be re-designed to incorporate protection measures along with the canoe portage facility.

“The installation of the canoe portage will be relatively simple and quick, the problem will be with the erosion protection,” said the spokeswoman.

“Due to the height of the river bank on this stretch of the river, there are a number of erosion protection solutions we will need to investigate.

“The most appropriate system will be dependent on longevity and costs so we cannot yet estimate a delivery date.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to have some program of works in place by the summer but it’s unlikely the completed project will be delivered by then.”

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