Feedback on potential flood protection options for Westport is being sought by the West Coast Regional Council.
The Buller River has the largest flood flow of any river in New Zealand yet Westport currently has very limited flood protection. Located next to the river itself, there is a risk of flooding, and depending on its extent, potential for significant damage to property, infrastructure and even threat to life.
From next week, ratepayers in the wider Westport area will be receiving copies of ‘Our river, our town, our future protection’ which sets out six options for flood protection.
Regional Council Deputy Chairman, Neal Clementson says “This is the first step in the process of flood protection for the Westport area. Once we get an idea as to the preferences of the community, we can look at these in more detail before coming back with more thorough costings and plans.”
The Buller Flood Working Group have been reviewing the information, scenarios, past events and predicted changes in climate to establish the risks for the future, as well as potential options for protection.
The potential for damages in a large scale event are significant. It is estimated that a 2% annual exceedance probability event (the chance of an event occurring annually) would cause $38 million in damages. In a 1% annual exceedance probability event, this escalates to $114 million.
“We encourage you to have your say and let us know which option you prefer”, says Mr Clementson. “We appreciate there is a lot of information, so sit down with a cuppa and take your time. It’s important we get this right for our future.”
Drop in sessions will be held on the 25th, 26th and 31st of January and on the 1st of February at the NBS Theatre. This is an opportunity to find out more about the various options and what they mean. More importantly, it’s a chance for you to tell staff and elected members what you think about the options.