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Flood protection options being examined

Flood protection

A group of local stakeholders is sifting through options to provide flood protection for Wairoa’s Land Category 2A residents.

As a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, Wairoa has 627 homes categorised as 2A, which indicates more information is needed before any further decisions can be made about a pathway forward.

Central Government has provided $70million for a flood protection scheme for Wairoa with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust and Wairoa District Council (The Tripartite partners) investigating options.

Engineers have developed a range of models based on thoughts and ideas from community engagement in August, plus river data with models based on science and hydrology and computer-generated modelling.

The stakeholder group provides local knowledge and a grassroots Wairoa voice. While the stakeholder group is an initial sounding board, options will be taken back out to the wider community for further engagement and feedback before a final decision is made by the tripartite partners.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna, speaking on behalf of the tripartite group, said a range of options are being considered and shortlisted. “In this type of situation, there will be cause and effect. We need to identify an efficient, agreeable, consentable solution that makes sense and has the most benefits for our township and the least detrimental impact on our community.

“During the Prime Minister's recent visit to Wairoa, we were told there is a sense of urgency in providing flood protection options for Wairoa, and the stakeholder group is working towards selecting its preferred option by the end of March.”

Mr Tipuna said early feedback from the stakeholder group was the need to actively manage the Wairoa River mouth and that the final model should be peer-reviewed to ensure the correct model is selected from a human life and monetary perspective.

Once confirmed, a flood protection scheme will assist in managing future severe weather events and provide certainty for homeowners and businesses with approved flood protection expected to take affected properties from 2A to 2C or 1, which will provide certainty and security moving forward and support keeping whānau in their communities and prevent properties in Wairoa from falling under the Land Category 3 property buyout.

19 December 2023

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