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Council prioritising flood work

Council prioritising flood work

Christchurch City Council is moving quickly to assist residents whose homes have been inundated by a series of recent floods.

The Council today asked staff to develop criteria for rates relief for residents who have had to move out of their homes because of flooding.

This is on the same day that the Flooding Taskforce of 34 Christchurch City Council staff assisted by engineering consultants and experts from the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT), Environment Canterbury, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and EQC ramped up their work on developing short-term solutions to the city's serious flooding problems.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel proposed the resolution requesting staff develop criteria for rates remissions for households affected by flooding and land movement caused by flooding. Staff will report back to the Council by the end of May.

The request follows the Mayor's announcement on Tuesday of a specialised Flooding Taskforce headed by the Council's Land Drainage Operations Manager Mike Gillooly to develop short to medium-term options for protecting properties from flooding. The Taskforce is based at the SCIRT offices at Middleton. It will produce a report for the Council to consider at a special meeting on 12 May.

" Christchurch has had three significant floods in a month, affecting thousands of residents throughout the city. Christchurch is currently experiencing a period of high rainfall, not experienced since the 1970s. Frequent large rainstorms have fallen across the city resulting in saturated ground, high river/river flows and flooding of houses, businesses and streets. The Christchurch earthquakes have worsened flooding in many areas of the city through damage to waterways and land," Lianne Dalziel says.

"The situation for these residents is intolerable. While the Council's Land Drainage Recovery Programme is currently investigating earthquake effects on the city's waterways and identifying options for restoration of pre-earthquake flood hazard levels, these options are often large scale physical works which may take years to implement.

"As we head into the fourth winter after the earthquakes, that is little comfort to our residents in the worst-affected areas. These people need help right now and the Taskforce's project focus is to come up with options for temporary flood protection of properties while decisions are made on the large infrastructure projects that will be determined by the programme."

As part of its brief the Taskforce will include the following options:

• Street/neighbourhood temporary operation solutions including localised pumps; temporary localised flood barriers; flap gates; bunds and sand bagging for example.

• Individual property level protections including house raising; base water proofing; and

• Re-location solutions for most vulnerable properties.

The Taskforce will collaborate closely with the on-going flood management programmes already underway within the Council and CERA including:

• The area-wide flood mitigation options that have been developed by the Council's Land Drainage Recovery Programme team for Flockton;

• The 63 land drainage recovery projects that have formed part of the Council's work programme over the past two years

• The CERA and Council-led Flood Management Steering Group which is providing local and central Government oversight and policy advice on flood management and mitigation issues following the earthquakes.

The Taskforce's report will include an area-by-area analysis of the cause and scope of flooding in each of the priority areas (Flockton, Sumner, Heathcote Valley, lower Heathcote, lower Avon River, Southshore, Lyttelton and Little River).Teams assigned to each area have started data collection.

Some field work has also begun. This includes identifying issues and constraints, collating field data and inspecting sites to identify the most vulnerable residents. The Council decision-making framework for the Flockton area is being compiled and will be in draft form by the end of business today. It will be the template for decision-making in the other areas.

Flockton is one of the worst affected areas and tomorrow engineers and Council contractors will start emergency works in the Lower Dudley Creek to expand the Creek's ability to cope with floods. The team will focus on:

• Assessing the impact of private property bridges on flooding

• Removal of trees

• Stream channel widening.

Work orders will be issued to the contractors on-site to minimise delays. The team will start with improving the channel on Council-owned property, but may have to use their powers under the Drainage Act to work on private property.


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