Final flood risk strategy presented

A strategy to reduce flood risk and increase community resilience in the Anzac Parade area of Whanganui was presented to Horizons Regional Council’s catchment operations committee today.

Commissioned by Horizons, the strategy has been independently written by Massey University and co-designed in close consultation with Anzac Parade residents, tangata whenua, Te Rūnanga o Tūpoho, Whanganui District Council and Horizons, as well as with contributions from stakeholders within central government, the insurance sector and others.

Horizons group manager catchment operations Dr Jon Roygard says the report wraps up a process that has taken a number of years to address a complex issue. 

“The strategy looks at a range of options to address flood risk in the Anzac Parade area, including increasing the size of stopbanks, raising houses and managed retreat,” says Dr Roygard.

“Initial next steps include working on raising awareness of Horizons’ early warning system with those in the area and improving evacuation procedures.

“We will work with our emergency management team and Whanganui District Council to do this and aim to make progress in the next few months. Steps beyond this will be ones for Council to decide in the future.”

Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell says the strategy will be a key document to consider when making decisions around prioritising climate resilience work in the region. 

“The strategy raises some big issues for a specific location around the increasing impact of climate change on communities in a river sense and identifies that there is no silver bullet,” says Cr Keedwell.

“It is important that as Council looks at what is required across the region to build flood resilience in the future, we use this report as part of the decision to prioritise what areas we focus on. We will not be able to do everything that may be required, however the risk is not going to go away.”

Catchment operations committee chair David Cotton says Horizons is grateful for the work Massey put into community consultation and writing the strategy.

“I’d like to thank Professor Bruce Glavovic and Dr Martin Garcia Cartagena for their efforts and recommendations. We also appreciate the input that stakeholders and the community contributed which has ensured that the strategy considers all perspectives.”

The strategy is available on here and includes further background information about previous consultation and the Anzac Parade resilience strategy.