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Last modified: 21 Jun 2021 11:44am

A boat in the river with its weed cutter on the front reaching up onto the bank

After 61 years of service there is a new boat in town on the LII/Ararira River.

The Council’s weed cutter the Ellesmere Queen has been replaced with a new custom-built boat, which has had its first outing to help keep the river clear this month.

The Wilton 2020 is named in honour of Wilton Tyson, a long-standing L2 Drainage Committee member. His son Murray Tyson has taken over as the operator of the boat and manages the weed cutting operation.

The weed cutter is used for crucial maintenance of the Ararira / LII river, keeping the river clear of weed and flowing freely. The weed cutting operations is part of the Council’s land drainage work which covering nine classified land drainage schemes across the district.

This year the work has cleared weed out of the L2/Ararira River from Moirs Lane just south of Lincoln to Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. Controlling the weed keeps the river level under control and prevents flooding and other drainage issues in the catchment.

The Wilton 2020 has more power compared to the old boat and was designed specifically for this application.

Local company Martin Hydraulics won the contract to build the new boat, working with the Council and our operator to provide a custom built boat that matched the needs on this river.

Weed cutting operations generally occur in the late summer to autumn depending on weed conditions. This year's work finished on 17 June.