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Flood Funding Boost For Canterbury Rivers

Central Government funding to assist with flood resilience has been welcomed by Environment Canterbury.

The regional council has received cash from the new regional infrastructure fund as part of Budget 2024.

Environment Canterbury acting chairperson Craig Pauling said the new co-funding arrangement ‘‘is a great start’’.

‘‘Co-investment is something we’ve been pushing for a long time, along with the rest of Te Uru Kahika – Regional and Unitary Councils Aotearoa.

‘‘Flooding is the country’s most common natural hazard, and urgent action is needed to ensure our communities are resilient"

The country’s regional councils have been advocating for central Government support for river resilience projects for several years.

It led to the 'Before the Deluge' report, which was released just before Cyclone Gabrielle struck parts of the North Island last year.

Councillor Pauling said Environment Canterbury identified seven priorities for the region, which were put forward in the report.

‘‘We will continue to work with the Government to progress projects to help safeguard lives, property and vital infrastructure across Waitaha, as well as help us with overall river resilience including biodiversity and biosecurity outcomes.

‘‘I am looking forward to keeping the conversations with the Government going and getting these initial pieces of work started.’’

Included in the initial funding round will be upgrades to critical and aged flood management infrastructure across the region to make it more resilient to the changing climate.

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Further work on the Rangitata flood resilient programme and projects in South Canterbury will also be funded.

The Government is still working through the amount of support which will be offered to each project.

River resilience was a major focus in the consultation for this year’s Environment Canterbury Long Term Plan.

Around three-quarters of submitters supported the council increasing its spending on flood protection, and pest and weed control.

The council is proposing to invest $25 million a year, over the next 10 years, to boost flood protection.

It also plans to introduce a district-wide rate for river resilience in Selwyn, and is considering similar options for the Ashley Rakahuri River and rivers in South Canterbury.

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