VITAL restoration work has begun at a favourite St Ives beauty spot to prevent its collapse into the River Great Ouse. According to engineering experts, the popular town centre riverside garden, The Waits, was in danger of disappearing into the water. After receiving reports from independent advisors, St Ives Town Council decided The Waits could no longer wait and a \u00A396,000 project to stabilise the area was approved. Reconstruction work at the mooring spot is now under way, alongside the installation of new flood alleviation measures led by the Environment Agency. Town clerk, George Cooper, said The Waits' repair bill would have been even higher had the project not been combined with flood relief work along the river frontage, already scheduled to take place there. The problem at the quayside was first identified by cracking in the paving setts, which prompted the town council to initialise surface repairs last autumn. When the cracking reappeared in a uniform direction, advice was sought from engineers. Mr Cooper said: "We realised this was potentially something serious and we knew the engineers would be coming in for the flood work, so we commissioned a literally in-depth investigation." A report found that the existing piles defending the public garden were too short to provide long term support to the area. With reconstruction work on the flood wall already in progress, the re-piling project was considered a priority by the town council. Deputy Mayor of St Ives and chairman of the amenities committee, Councillor Doug Dew said: "The report shows that without action, the Waits quayside would eventually fail and that the gardens would be lost. "We have worked hard and fast to get the best price for taxpayers to re-pile The Waits and save them. We can't let The Waits wait." INFORMATION: Work to the area should be complete by late spring, with landscaping to follow.