Last week Environment Waikato and Thames-Coromandel District Council announced their plans for the former Waiomu Bay Holiday Park and 2 Waiomu Valley Road.
The two properties were jointly purchased by the councils last year when extensive investigations showed the lower area of the holiday park and 2 Waiomu Valley Road were at serious risk of on-going flooding.
“The lower area of the former holiday park and 2 Waiomu Valley Road are built on a floodplain. Although we can sometimes build structures like stopbanks and floodwalls to protect existing properties in floodplain areas, there was no engineering solution that would protect this particular area in a significant flood,” said Environment Waikato Group Manager Scott Fowlds.
“Removing the buildings from this particularly dangerous area and re-shaping the land to form a floodway was the only way to reduce the risk to life and property. To do this we had to purchase both properties.
“Removing houses is something we don’t like to do, but what happens to this area of the floodplain when the Waiomu Stream floods is a good example of why the development of floodplain areas needs to be carefully managed.”
When it rains heavily, the floodway will contain the water and guide the flow of the stream under the bridge. But before this work can begin the buildings and fence materials on the floodplain need to be removed. This will be done through a tender process, which will be advertised next week.
Once the flood protection works have been completed nothing will be able to be built in this area again, but people will be able to use it as a council reserve.
The higher area of the former holiday park is not on the floodplain and people can continue to live in this area. Thames-Coromandel District Council Chief Executive, Steve Ruru, said the owners of the holiday park were given the option of selling the lower area to the councils and continuing to operate an accommodation facility on the higher ground, but decided against this.
Given people can safely live in the higher area of the former holiday park, this area will be sold for development, but not until after the floodway has been formed. Depending on weather, this may not be until next summer.
The purchase of the two properties was partially funded from the flood relief package Environment Waikato and Thames-Coromandel District Council received from the Government in 2004 to help them manage flooding along the Thames coast. But this funding did not cover all the costs of the purchases or the re-shaping work that is needed to form the floodway.
The money from the sale of the buildings and higher land will be used to cover some of these costs. The balance of the costs will be funded from regional and local rates.