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Residents of some of Northland’s most flood-prone communities are being invited to meet with local authorities to update existing knowledge about - and help find possible solutions to – flooding issues.
The Northland Regional Council will from late next month (Subs: June) hold a dozen meetings around the region as part of the first round of public consultation for its ‘Priority Rivers Flood Risk Reduction Project’.
Bruce Howse, the Council’s Land/Rivers Senior Programme Manager, says the project has initially identified 27 catchments around Northland as priorities for flood risk planning, all but a few in the Far North District.
“These 27 have been prioritised because of the potential threats the rivers and streams in them pose to lives, buildings, road access, infrastructure and agriculture. We’re proposing to work with affected communities to prioritise and develop tailor-made plans to reduce flood risks over the next several years.”
Mr Howse says one of the first parts of that process will see a series of 12 public meetings held around the region from 29 June to 14 July.
He says the Regional Council has already carried out a great deal of work on the project over the past six months, including detailed surveys of the land in the catchments which is being used to help develop computer flood models.
“Initially, we’re keen to work with affected communities and stakeholders to build on what we already know about the size of floods and who they affect. We’ll also be asking the community to tell us about the places and things they’re especially keen to protect in their local area, for instance schools and marae.”
He says the information gathered will enable appropriate flood risk reduction options to be identified, assessed and developed and initial flood risk reduction plans for the affected catchments should be completed by June 2010.
“The various actions suggested in them to reduce flood risks will then be prioritised for implementation after further public consultation.”
Mr Howse says at their simplest, flood risk reduction options could range from changes in local authority planning processes to prevent development which could increase risks in flood-prone areas.
“At the other end of the scale, they could call for physical construction of things like stopbanks and other potentially costly infrastructure.”
He says the question of who will pay for any proposed works will be addressed after consultation later in the process, but typically local communities – who stand to benefit the most – would probably meet the costs.
People wanting to know more about the project can visit the Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz/priorityrivers
A list of the public meetings (and relevant catchments) is below.
Whangarei; Monday 29 June, 6pm, Northland Regional Council. (Waiarohia-Raumanga, Otaika, Hatea & Whangarei Heads)
Ruakaka; Tuesday 30 June, 6pm, Ruakaka Recreation Centre. (Ruakaka)
Paihia; Wednesday 01 July, 6pm, Paihia Town Hall. (Waitangi)
Kawakawa; Thursday 02 July, 6pm, Ngati Hine Health Trust. (Kawakawa)
Helena Bay; Friday 03 July, 4pm, Helena Bay Gallery. (Helena Bay)
Kaikohe; Monday 06 July, 4pm, Mid North Motor Inn. (Waihou, Waima & Punakitere)
Opononi; Tuesday 07 July, 4pm, South Hokianga War Memorial Hall (Awapokonui, Whirinaki & Waimamaku)
Totara North; Wednesday 08 July, 1pm, Totara North Hall (Pupuke, Totara North & Taupo Bay)
Whangaroa; Wednesday 08 July, 6pm, Whangaroa Big Game Fishing Club. (Whangaroa Streams (Te Ngaire, Wainui & Mahinepua), Tauranga River & Matangirau)
Panguru; Friday 10 July, 1pm, Panguru School Gym. (Rotokakahi & Pawarenga Streams and Panguru Rivers (Panguru & Lower Waihou))
Maungaturoto; Monday 13 July, 6pm, Maungaturoto Community Centre. (Wairau (Maungaturoto))
Ngunguru; Tuesday 14 July, 6pm, Ngunguru Memorial Hall. (Ngunguru)
MEDIA NOTE: The 27 priority rivers or groups of streams being assessed (in alphabetical, not priority order) are:
Awaroa-Rotokakahi and Pawarenga Streams
Helena Bay River
Waima & Punakitere-Otaua
Whangarei Heads Streams
Whangaroa Streams (Totara North, Te Ngaere, Wainui & Mahineapua)