Bay of Plenty Regional Council is planning to raise a loan of $2.3 million in the 2011/2012 year to undertake capital works on the region’s major rivers schemes which have been damaged in a series of floods during the past year.
During deliberations on its Draft Annual Plan this week the Regional Council heard that the cost to repair stop banks and other infrastructure damaged in 2010 and 2011 storms was $9.4 million – $1.8 million for operation expenses to repair damage and $7.6 million for new infrastructure to continue to provide the agreed level of service.
Of the capital expenditure of $7.6 million, 30 percent would be spent in the coming 2011/2012 financial year and 70 percent in the following year. Submitters from the Joint River Scheme Liaison Group said affected communities could not afford to pay for the improvements and replenish flood reserves.
Funding of the remaining 70 percent ($5.3 million) will be further examined in the Ten Year Plan process, along with issues related to the long-term sustainability of the schemes.
The Joint River Schemes requested that the Council provide grants for capital funding, and in return the schemes would double their contribution to flood reserves through targeted rates in the coming financial year, and investigate an appropriate contribution in following years to make the schemes sustainable.
Group Manager Environmental Hazards Ken Tarboton said an insurance claim to the Local Authority Protection Programme (LAPP) has been made for recovery of the $1.8 million for operational expenses to reinstate the current flood protection infrastructure.
The planned loan of $2.3 million in 2011/2012 would mean reserve replenishments and loan servicing of $131,489 would need to be found from general funds, with $556,567 to be collected from targeted scheme rates. This would have a long-term effect on the Ten Year Plan, together with further implications of decisions on future funding of the remaining $5.3 million damage repairs still required after 2011/2012, he said.
The Council agreed to contribute an additional $600,000 from Council reserves to fund likely increased contributions required due to the impact on the LAPP scheme as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes
Ōpōtiki District Council submitted on behalf of its affected ratepayers in the six river schemes in the area, and had asked for a rating review to re-asses targeted rates, provision of a disaster grant and a risk assessment of river schemes to set work priorities. Whakatāne District Council had also submitted in support of the projects and asked for investigations into the management of forestry harvests and its effect on flooding.