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Relief in sight for flood-prone north-west Motueka

June 29th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Typical flooding in north-west Motueka last year

Relief is in sight for residents in the flood-prone north-western sector of Motueka, with stormwater upgrades being brought forward into the upcoming financial year.

Tasman District Council this morning agreed to move the Poole Street Stormwater Upgrade project into the 2017/18 year (which starts next week).

The worst affected areas include properties on or near Poole Street, Wilkie Street, Jocelyn Avenue and Fry Street.

The previously deferred upgrade had been programmed in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan to be undertaken in 2018/2019.

Council said it was of lower priority as no house floor levels were reported as being flooded up to the time that the Long Term Plan had been adopted.

Since that decision, the rain events of March 2016, May 2016 and January 2017 did not result in houses being flooded in this area, engineers reported to the Council meeting.

"To bring the completion date of the ... project forward to 2017-2018 would put extra pressure on the Council's resources, which potentially could affect the delivery of the programme."

However, "the Engineering Services Department has recently increased its in-house capacity and capability. Therefore, this project could be constructed in 2017/18 if the Council wanted to reprioritise it."

This action was approved unanimously by the Councillors today, with the motion being put by Cr Paul Hawkes and seconded by Cr David Ogilvie.

The motion was to "recommend to Full Council to bring forward the Poole Street stormwater upgrade construction works at an estimated cost of $600,000 to the 2017/2018 financial year".

TDC's change of mind represents a huge tick to the Motueka Ward's three representatives, and comes just a month after they also were successful in lobbying the full council to bring the Library feasibility study forward two years to begin also in 2017/18.

Paul told Motueka Online that the three are now working closely together to ensure Motueka's greatest issues are resolved. Being on the same page has not been a characteristic of Motueka's Ward Councillors in recent years.

During their election campaigns last September all three (and other unsuccessful candidates) agreed that the library and stormwater issues were the two major items they would work hard to achieve.

In fact, one of the formal questions asked at the main "Meet the Candidates" meeting was which of the two issues was the most important, and they all agreed that they would strive to get both done.

The engineering report to Council today said the "frequency and impact of flooding events will be reduced but not fully eliminated from installation of this stormwater pipework".

"The pipe upgrade will bring the service level of the primary piped system up to a 5% Annual Exceedance Probability (or a 1-in-20 year return period). Rainfall intensities above the 5% Annual Exceedance Probability will still cause surface flooding similar to that being presently experienced in the area of Wilkie Street."

It is expected the work will take five to seven months to complete - about two months to complete the design and prepare the contract documentation, one month for the tender process and three months for the construction phase.

The initial design, drawings and tender documents were prepared for the Poole Street Stormwater Upgrade work in March 2012 to upgrade from High Street to Michael Myers Street.

Work did not proceed at the time and the Poole Street Stormwater Upgrade work was reprogrammed in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan; the estimate for this was around $450,000.

This scope and estimate did not include extending the reticulation from Michael Myers Street to Jocelyn Avenue, which would added an extra $150,000 to the project costs.

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