Special Rating Areas
The West Coast Regional Council is responsible for river control and flood protection in 26 individual rating districts on the West Coast, this protection is in place to reduce the severity of impacts on local communities from large, low frequency flooding events. Drainage schemes on land allow the use of land for higher economic benefits such as dairy farming and agriculture. Each of these council responsibilities provide landowners in rating districts with significant security from flooding, erosion and provide confidence in the level of protection that infrastructure will provide during flood events.
The West Coast Regional Council own and maintain a wide variety of infrastructure assets contained in the 26 rating districts that protect people and property from flooding and erosion, these assets are operated and maintained by council and have a total book value of approximately $58 million dollars at 31 December 2015.
A rating district is formed when council is approached by a concerned community in regards to flooding and existing or potential drainage and erosion issues. Extended communication and consultation with the community is carried out until clear support for a particular solution is apparent. Rating districts vary from very large schemes protecting major towns to small schemes protecting property and providing drainage solutions. Rating districts are made up primarily of hundreds of kilometres of stopbanks, drains, erosion works (groynes, spurs and retards) and other infrastructure associated with river erosion, drainage and flood protection schemes. This infrastructure is funded by individual rated properties within each rating district or often by a loan with repayments by the rating district over a suitable repayment term.
Each rating district appoints a consultative committee consisting of a spokesperson, deputy spokesperson and committee members agreed by the community. Annual meetings are held pursuant to local government meeting procedures with annual work programmes, works and financial reports and rating district requirements such as future targeted rate amounts provided to the committee to aid in informed decision making. Council is responsible for maintaining rating district assets in a prudent manner, which includes informed decision making on the future of the rating district and any potential flood protection works, however council almost always endorses the recommendations from the consultative committee.