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Worst flood houses could be purchased in 3 months

Worst flood houses could be purchased within three months

Flood-prone Henderson Valley residents could have sold their homes to the Waitakere city council and be resettled within three months.

That was the assurance given tonight, to a meeting between residents and the Council, to discuss flooding issues in the area.

“It is a flood plain and people bought there knowing that, but the Council buying the properties now will help us with our long-term city wide plans for managing storm-water. As a result there is a willing seller and willing buyer situation,” says Councillor Penny Hulse, who chaired the meeting.

“There is also no question and there never has been, but that property owners will get a fair price. We have stated that from the outset and indeed this council has bought a number of properties on that basis in the past, so our track record is very good,” she says.

Councillor Hulse said the Council had been speaking with residents since the floods of May 1 and would now spend the next several weeks meeting with them again. To prioritise the worst affected houses and begin the purchase process.

“We are concerned first and foremost, with those families who have health and safety issues. If there are no obstacles we could complete purchases within as little as three months,” she says.

Councillor Hulse said that the Council would deal with all affected properties owners individually to get the best outcome for each one.

“Some will want to sell, some will want to have their houses raised. And som e will want neither of those things but they will want to see us do everything in our power to reduce the impacts in the event of even bigger floods than we have seen to date.”

Councillor Hulse says that there has been a change in the rainfall patterns in recent years. There was about same amount of rain as in the past, but at times it has been in more concentrated downpours.

“We’re getting tropical storm systems on a regular basis now and although they are still not very severe, we can expect the trend to increase with global warming,” she says.

The Council’s new sustainable engineering manager, Garry Peters, outlined the causes of the problems as being heavy rain falling high on the very steep slopes of the Waitakere Ranges. He said subdivision has no material affect.

He described a range of engineering options that the Council was exploring to help channel extreme floodwaters in the future.

“It was a very positive meeting. The residents were constructive and their knowledge is extremely helpful because it allows us to approach the issues together. I think that as a result most people probably went away pretty satisfied,” Councillor Hulse says.

Prepared for Councillor Hulse by Dai Bindoff, Public affairs manager, Waitakere City Council.

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