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Flood repair costs top $3 million

Flood repair costs top $3 million

For immediate release: 22 December 2010

Costs for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to repair flood damage to river scheme works from the August floods earlier this year will be more than $3 million.

Meetings have been held with river scheme liaison groups to discuss the damage and options to fund the repairs, including possibly deferring planned maintenance works. The deficit needed to repair the flood damage, without deferring maintenance work or receiving Local Authority Protection Programme insurance payments totals $1.9 million. Options to fund the deficit will be brought to the Council early next year.

The Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme liaison group spokesperson Roger Hinz praised Regional Council staff who had worked long hours during the August 2010 flood to ensure that pumps were operational to minimise the time that pasture was inundated. He said the group had elected to undertake the priority work and defer some maintenance to get priority repairs done.

“We need to undertake the priority work now and can then assess funding options for the remainder of the work,” Mr Hinz said.

Group Manager Rivers and Drainage Ken Tarboton said key issues which arose during the 13 -15 August event were a partial breach of the Te Rahu Canal, a tributary canal to the Whakatāne river, overtopping of low level stopbanks on the Whakatāne river and the fuse at the Whakatāne spit not breaking until high tide on the morning of Sunday 15 August, after the Whakatāne River had peaked.

“Following the flood event, comprehensive inspections have been undertaken to assess flood damage to all of our rivers and drainage schemes. The greatest damage was to the Whakatāne-Waimana scheme, due predominantly to the high river flows and saturated ground conditions before the event,” said Mr Tarboton.

The most expensive repairs – on the Whakatāne-Waimana scheme - would cost more than $1 million, with priority works costing about half that.

“Damage is predominantly erosion and scouring of the riverbanks which require stabilisation to prevent further damage, through either rock armouring of the banks or willow trenching. Across the river schemes approximately 6.8 km of rock protection work is needed at a cost of $1.8 million and 5.2 km of willow trenching at a cost of $750,000,” Mr Tarboton said.

The deficit is a large proportion of the 2010/2011 operating expenditure budget for the major schemes, ranging from 12 percent for the Rangitāiki-Tarawera scheme to 56 percent of the Whakatāne-Waimama scheme budget. The Whakatane-Waimana scheme liaison group asked Council staff to look at options to fund the deficit at the same time as starting on the high priority work.

Mr Tarboton said these deficits may be reduced with anticipated savings, by minimising routine maintenance costs for the current financial year and possibly with an insurance contribution.

“Schemes may need to uplift internal loans to do the repairs, depending on funding options to be presented to Council. The Waioeka-Otara scheme elected to raise loans immediately in order to undertake priority repair work,” Mr Tarboton said.

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