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Options proposed for new flood protection strategy

July 11th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

The scrapping of Tasman District Council's plan to upgrade and raise the Motueka River stopbanks has prompted the Community Board to recommend a set of lower-cost strategies to reduce the risk of a major flood to the town.

Board chairman David Ogilvie prepared and tabled a detailed set of strategic options, including a comprehensive maintenance programme for the existing stopbanks, gravel extraction, alternative river channel management, catchment control (logging and forestry) and even better management of town stormwater including tidal flap gates and floodgates.

You can read his full report by downloading this document.

David said the Council's decision last month to prune the flood protection project from $16.5 million to $5 million as a consequence of the Long Term Plan process was baffling. "The Council, with its consultants, had undergone a lengthy consultation, had recommended refurbish option including the Brooklyn stopbanks and with iwi support, appeared ready to undertake a final design and work on a 40-year ratings model." (See earlier story here.)

However, the decision has been made, the stopbanks will stay as they are, and now Motueka community now must move forward and determine the best way to protect itself against flooding, the community board agreed.

At yesterday's monthly board meeting questions were nevertheless asked about why the council made such a radical change of policy when only last year the inadequacy of the stopbank was considered such a huge problem and threat. Councillor Barry Dowler said he had voted against the funding reduction and had been "gutted" by the decision.

What irked him in particular was the suggestion that a significant part of the projected cost was the setting aside of money that the council expected it would have to pay river-side land owners to buy land on which the stopbanks were built and then back-lease the land, with some compensation, despite that fact that those land owners would benefit from stronger stopbanks.

The community board approved sending the report to council's Engineering Committee as a contribution to its planning on how to spend the $5 million of funds now available.


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