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Flooding Feedback Encouraging

4 April 2014

Flooding Feedback Encouraging

Around 120 people rolled up at the Edgeware Bowling Club yesterday as the Shirley / Papanui Community Board began the first of city wide information sessions and focus groups on flooding.

Approximately 50-60 people attended the afternoon focus session, (a handful in the morning, with many more dropping in to get information), which looked at options around short term management of flooding in the Shirley / St Albans / Papanui area. Board members Mike Davidson (Chair) and councillors for the area Ali Jones and Pauline Cotter attended one or both sessions yesterday. The meeting was organised quickly because of the urgency which is why more local board members could not attend. A number of residents who could not attend and still wish to contribute have been contacted and survey forms made available. Completed forms should be at the council offices by Monday morning.

Jones and Cotter say the information gathered from these focus group discussions and forms is absolutely essential, not only for the short term options but also the long term solutions.

"Residents made constructive and positive comments which will help the Taskforce immeasurably," says Cotter. "It is clear something has to be done and we have committed, along with central Government, to get something sorted ASAP."

One of the interesting pieces of feedback yesterday was that some but not all who came to the bowling club, are interested in a "buy out" of their properties.

"Certainly the number was initially significant however when we asked would they be less keen if they had trust and were confident that the mitigation would be successful, that number halved," says Jones. "It's clear people want to stay in this community if they can."

The Council this week set up a Flooding Taskforce of 38 people, including Council staff assisted by engineering consultants and staff from the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team, Environment Canterbury, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and EQC to develop short to medium-term solutions to the serious flooding problems. The Taskforce will prepare a report for the Council to consider on 12 May.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel has asked that the Council's recovery partners, including CERA, Ecan, EQC and private insurers, swing into action to assist the Taskforce, saying that a cross-agency approach is needed given the scale and complexity of the task.

A report on the longer-term proposed flood mitigation for the Flockton area will be considered by the Council's Earthquake Recovery Committee on 5 June.

Council staff have begun contacting around 150 households that are known to have been breached by floodwaters in the March event. These residents will be contacted individually to update and test information about their own and neighbouring properties and how they performed in last two events. The Shirley Papanui Community Board and community groups are being asked to assist by ensuring all affected households are identified.

Clrs Cotter and Jones say there was a real sense of "let's get this sorted and we support you" which was fantastic considering the stress, anxiety and loss residents have suffered and continue to do so.

"There was very little if any revisiting of the past or angry grandstanding. It's a credit to the strength of the people in our ward that they turned out today to make a positive difference and we really appreciate that."

Cotter agrees saying, "We all want this sorted. This is our community and it's a basic human right to have a warm, dry, safe home. It is also a basic right to be well and keep your family well in your community, and the longer this goes on, the more people's mental and physical health is severely negatively affected."

More survey forms have been distributed to the St Albans area today (Sunday) and residents are encouraged to drop their forms in to the City Council by tomorrow morning.


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