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Another $1.2m for flood repairs

6 December 2004

Another $1.2m for flood repairs

For immediate release: Monday 6 December, 2004 Another $1.2m is likely to be earmarked by Environment Bay of Plenty for urgent repair works resulting from July’s floods.

The regional council has already spent $5.3m fixing damage to stopbanks, canals and river protection works at 51 separate sites.

On Thursday, the operational services committee recommended a further 19 high priority works be completed on the Rangitaiki River Scheme, the Whakatane-Waimana Rivers Scheme and the Rangitaiki Drainage Scheme.

Sites include the Reids Central Canal stopbank by Edgecumbe’s railway embankment, the Rangitaiki River stopbank by the Fonterra factory and an eroded section of riverbank near the Murupara oxidation ponds. On the Whakatane and Waimana Rivers repair sites include the stopbank at Ruatoki Township and an eroded area of riverbank behind Taneatua.

The committee’s recommendation will now be forwarded to the full council for approval.

Committee chairman Jim Pringle says Environment Bay of Plenty does not yet know how much the Government will contribute towards the costs from its Disaster Relief Fund. “So there is a bit of crystal ball gazing going on,” he says.“ However, the committee recognises the necessity of the works and that it is not safe to wait – so we have no option but to go ahead anyway.”

Environment Bay of Plenty is seeking reimbursement from the Disaster Relief Fund for urgent work carried out during July’s emergency and for the ongoing repairs to damaged stopbanks, drains and river protection works.

It is hoped that the Government will contribute at least 60% of response and recovery costs.

Mr Pringle says he sympathises with ratepayers in the middle to upper reaches of the schemes who want to see more work being done in their area.

He says the works that have been approved for funding are ones identified as urgent and without action the integrity of the river schemes was at risk. Some of these works are now underway including several in the middle and upper reaches

When government funding is confirmed, the works schedule will be finalised in consultation the scheme liaison people and decisions made on the less urgent of the tasks.

At its December meeting, the committee visited lower river scheme sites affected by the floods, seeing first hand the work the council has been doing to repair flood-damaged assets. It also met with several concerned landowners and listened to their comments on how they have been affected.

ENDS

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