Management of floodable property to be considered in Long-term Plan

Horizons Regional Council is intending to consult on reducing the consequences of river flooding along Anzac Parade, rather than more stopbanking, as part of its 2018-28 Long-term Plan, following feedback from the Whanganui community.

Horizons approached Whanganui residents earlier this year to discuss what impact the 2015 flood had on views around the adequacy of existing flood defences and whether those defences should be strengthened.
Ramon Strong, Horizons group manager river management, says his team had a productive conversation with the community.
“Over the course of two weeks we held public meetings and attended the River Traders Market, capturing a wide range of views,” he says.
“As expected, there were a range of opinions as to whether more/higher stopbanks provide the best long-term solution. Although this option was generally supported by those directly affected, the wider community was less sure of the wisdom of that approach. 
“Having considered the feedback, and combining it with our knowledge of the substantial technical challenges involved in raising stopbanks through Kowhai Park, we have come to the conclusion that further investment in flood defences is not a viable long term proposition for that area.”
Chair of Horizons’ catchment operations committee and councillor for Whanganui David Cotton says that Council recognises the best approach is to invest in a long-term strategy to lessen the impact of flooding along Anzac Parade.
“One of Horizons’ core goals is to increase community resilience to natural hazards so we are not comfortable leaving the situation as it currently stands. There are significant public safety and health considerations – in some areas we estimate that in a 200 year return period flood event the depth of flooding will be more than 3 metres.
“For this reason we’re intending to work collaboratively with Whanganui District Council to develop a strategy for reducing the impacts of floods along Anzac Parade, including potentially removing properties from the worst affected areas. The content of the strategy, what it might cost and how it would be funded has yet to be determined.
“Our intention is to develop the strategy and include it as part of our 2018-28 Long-term Plan consultation. We understand that not everyone will agree with this proposal however we believe we have a responsibility to explore long-term, robust solutions for the community,” he says. 
Mr Strong says the consultation also touched on flooding issues in the Taupo Quay area.
“What we’ve concluded for this area is that we’ll need to work with Whanganui District Council to determine an appropriate balance between flood defence needs and the important amenity aspect in this part of the City. This project is also intended for inclusion in the 2018-28 Long-term Plan for consideration where residents will be able to have their say.”