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Mayor Announces Next Step In Making Space For Water

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has announced further progress on Auckland Council’s plans to make the region more resilient to flooding, but noted this effort will be expensive and more work is required to ensure that costs are spread fairly and are affordable.

Council’s Governing Body have approved a proposal to consult the community on the ‘Making Space for Water’ programme, which includes nine initiatives to make the region more resilient to flooding. This is the next step in delivering on this priority.

The nine ‘Making Space for Water’ initiatives proposed are as follows:

  1. Blue-green networks in critical flood-risk areas
  2. High-risk properties
  3. Culvert and bridge upgrades
  4. Overland flow path management
  5. Rural settlements
  6. Flood intelligence
  7. Stream rehabilitation
  8. Community-led flood resilience
  9. Increased maintenance

According to further work carried out by Auckland Council, the costs for this programme could be $1.65 billion, bringing the potential costs associated with the flooding and cyclone events (including recovery, potential buy-outs and further resilience) to as high as $4 billion.

“This latest cost estimate is more of a guesstimate and there is a high level of uncertainty about it, but it provides a sense of proportion,” Mayor Brown said.

“Categorisation work is underway to identify which severely affected homes will meet the criteria set by the Government for a possible buy-out.

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“Today marks six months since the January flooding events, and we understand people want clarity on this as soon as possible. We are working as fast as we can, but it is complex work. There are limited resources in areas such as the availability of experienced geo-tech engineers and we owe it to all ratepayers to proceed carefully.

The details of the buy-out scheme proposed by the government are yet to determined.

“Auckland, like every other region, will require significant support from central government to be able to afford the cost of short-term investment such as the proposed property buyouts, and longer-term investment to improve the city’s resilience to these events.

“Affordability and cost control will be key, and decisions on the scope and speed of the fix up will depend on the extent of government support. We are currently engaged in negotiations with government about a cost sharing agreement that will determine how much our share of the costs are.

“As with everything we do, it is important we also ensure we are controlling cost and getting value for money – and I will keep a focus on this throughout.

“I had signalled my belief that there were significant future costs facing Auckland during the final adoption of the Annual Budget 2023/2024. Now more than ever, we need to start seriously thinking about planning for a sustainable and affordable financial future for Auckland,” says Mayor Brown.

The Auckland sites currently identified as suitable for proposed blue-green networks include:

1. Wairau Creek (Totaravale, Lower Sunnynook, Milford)

2. Kumeū River (Kumeū)

3. Waimoko Stream (Swanson)

4. Opanuku Stream (Henderson)

5. Porters Stream (Glen Eden)

6. Whau Stream (Blockhouse Bay)

7. Cox’s Creek (Grey Lynn)

8. Gribblehirst Park/St Leonards Road (Meola/Epsom)

9. Te Auaunga Awa (Mt Roskill)

10. Harania Creek (Mangere)

11. Te Ararata Greenway (Mangere)

12. Whangapouri (Pukekohe)

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