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Report on Gorge Road Natural Hazards Review to be considered

A report detailing technical assessments undertaken on the Gorge Road Natural Hazards Review is to be considered by Full Council on Thursday 16 September, with the intention to undertake consultation with potentially affected landowners, occupiers, and businesses in the area.

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) General Manager Planning and Development, Tony Avery said significant work had been undertaken to understand the nature and scale of natural hazard risk across two alluvial fans located on the western side of Gorge Road in Queenstown.

“I acknowledge that natural hazards and the risk they pose can be a sensitive subject for potentially affected parties, but Council is committed to working with our community to share the information we have about these potential risks and to consider options to address them,” said Mr Avery.

Technical assessments undertaken by Beca Limited and reviewed by GNS Science identified that debris flow and rockfall hazards showed high levels of risk on parts of both alluvial fans, exceeding published guidelines on risk tolerability.

In response, Council has identified four possible risk management options to address identified rockfall and debris flow risk in the Gorge Road area.

The risk management options range from continuing to assess risk on a case-by-case basis in the resource consent process, through to constructing mitigating structures, applying more risk-specific land use rules, or possibly reducing the concentration of people and buildings in the high-risk areas.

Mr Avery noted that each option comes with its own pros and cons, and not everyone may support the same option.

“Subject to approval by Councillors to proceed with the pre-notification consultation, officers intend to meet with affected parties, and discuss the levels of potential risk in these areas and what they mean for residents, workers, businesses and landowners. Following that, we’ll detail the options at Council’s disposal, how these options could be used and what that would mean for this community.”

Mr Avery added that community consultation on the Gorge Road Natural Hazards Review was the start of a longer process to consider what actions would be taken in the future to protect against loss of life and damage to property.

If the report before Council is approved on Thursday 16 September, public consultation is planned for November 2021, with information on dates, times and locations to follow.

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