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Funding And Next Steps Confirmed For Otago Climate Resilience Projects

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) has finalised an agreement with the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) for $5.44m in government funding for four engineering projects in Otago. The projects will help with flood resilience and environmental outcomes, and will contribute to additional jobs for the region.

The agreement is part of a Climate Resilience Programme of works across regional councils that focuses on flood protection and river management resilience. The funding is part of the government’s $3 billion investment in infrastructure to support New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

The government investment in flood resilience infrastructure in and Otago was first announced in July this year.

This funding agreement has now been finalised and ORC will begin implementing the Climate Resilience Programme of works, which includes finalising contact and procurement processes over the next 3 months for projects which have not commenced the construction phase. ORC is also planning community information sessions to discuss the details of the four climate resilience projects in Otago with the local residents.

ORC Chair Andrew Noone said the funding announcement is good news for Otago.

“We are excited to be part of Otago’s economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. The government funding will cover 60% of the costs of these projects, which will reduce the cost to ratepayers for this necessary work.

“The projects will create dozens of construction, engineering, driver/operator, project management, and support roles over the next three to four years,” he said.

ORC General Manager Operations Dr Gavin Palmer said the projects will help the region become more resilient to flooding and the effects of future climate change.

“These four projects will enhance flood protection in West Taieri, Lower Clutha and Outram, which are prone to natural hazards such as flooding. Dunedin International Airport is also located in this area, which adds to the importance of the proposed works.

“In the Lower Clutha area, river management and flood protection schemes will protect productive farmland. ORC will also upgrade and install flow management structures at Robson Lagoon, which is a culturally important biodiversity area in Lake Tuakitoto.

“Some of these projects are well progressed with planning, consents, design and procurement. Construction has commenced on some sites of the Riverbank Road Flood Stabilisation Project, as these are part of the Lower Clutha flood repair program of works.

“We will hold community information sessions early next year to update the local residents about the projects and these will be advertised closer to the time. We are looking forward to talking with people about the work we’ll be doing to protect their agricultural land and homes from flooding,” Dr Palmer said.

The four projects and locations are:

Taieri, West Taieri Contour Channel Upgrade - Contour channel renewal/upgrade which includes bridge replacements. The contour channel assists with flood protection and land drainage of approximately 4,000ha of land and was built in 1915.

Outram, Outram Weighting Blanket – Undertake measures to mitigate seepage through floodbank. This will reduce risk of floodbank failure and flooding of up to 4,000ha of land, potentially including Dunedin International Airport.

Balclutha, Riverbank Road Floodbank Stabilisation – Repairing flood erosion and scour in a part of the Lower Clutha Flood Protection Scheme.

Balclutha, Robson Lagoon Flow Control Structure Upgrade (part of Lake Tuakitoto Wetland, a regionally significant wetland) - The flow management structures will allow sustainable habitat levels and flows during flood events. The control structures will provide for the passage of native fish.

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