Floodway improvement works at Graham’s Creek will go ahead after Waikato Regional Council today approved a budget of up to $600,000 in its 2014/15 Annual Plan.
“We’ve worked with the community to identify a workable solution for everyone,” said council chair Paula Southgate.
“There was a fairly even split in community feedback for and against, however, this is the closest we’ve got in eight years of discussions to getting agreement and it’s time we got on with the work,” Cr Southgate said.
The works are subject to Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) upgrading the Manaia Rd causeway bridge in accordance with the scheme design. Cr Southgate said TCDC Mayor Glenn Leach was “very committed to getting on with it”.
The floodway improvement works will mean there’ll be greater protection against flooding, such as the event in December last year.
Targeted rating for the work will be implemented from 1 July 2015 and based on a 30 year loan repayment to reduce the annual rate burden on landowners.
Rates are yet to be finalised, but at this stage landowners who will benefit the most from the works and whose property is valued at $400,000 could expect to pay an additional $355 a year for the floodway improvement works.
A working group will also be established, comprising regional council staff and councillor Clyde Graf, as well as TCDC and community representatives to refine and confirm the work programme.
As part of its role, the working group will explore medium-level works options that could reduce the final cost while still achieving a reduction in flooding.
In total, the regional council received 81 submissions in relation to Graham’s Creek floodway improvements works – 41 said the work should not proceed, while 33 felt it should.
People who opposed the works said rates were already too high and many felt alternative options for paying for the works were needed.
Submitters in favour of the works told the council something needed to be done as soon as possible to stop the flooding because it impacts the entire community and it’s time to bring the issue to a conclusion.
The 2014/15 Annual Plan is due to be adopted on Thursday 26 June. Visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/annualplan to read the annual plan submissions.