Franz Josef is unique in New Zealand. Situated on the Alpine Fault and next to the Waiho River, the area is subject to significant risk. However, it is these natural features that have made Franz Josef a nationally significant tourist destination.
Over 500,000 visitors stay in Franz Josef each year, requiring significant investments (for example hotels, restaurants and visitor activities). The Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan, released in July 2017, identified that this investment needs protection if Franz Josef is to become sustainable in the future.
The West Coast Regional Council commissioned Tonkin + Taylor and EY to undertake a Natural Hazards Options Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis. This provides evidence based information to assist decision-making on the 'best way' forward for the town. A copy of this report can be downloaded below.
The report identifies three key packages made up of a range of options. These packages identify how to avoid nature's most significant challenges, defend against nature's challenges or how to live with nature's challenges.
Franz Josef Natural Hazards Options Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis
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Frequently asked questions
In the first half of November, the Regional Council will begin consultation with community, business, iwi and local and central government. This is an important step and is a chance for open and meaningful discussion with these key stakeholders to start identifying which of the packages, or options within the packages, are to be given further attention. This will lead to the development of a business case to take to central government.
The consultation will be a combination of targeted mailout, drop in sessions, information on the Regional Council's website and social media, as well as having feedback forms at key locations in the Franz Josef township. It will be challenging to ensure that all of those affected in the township will be able to provide feedback, so the Council will be working closely with the Franz Josef Working Group to ensure as many people as possible are reached.
A Governance Group, representing the various stakeholder groups, will be appointed over the coming weeks. This Group will review the feedback from the consultation and test these findings with the community to ensure that the decisions made from here are robust.
It is important that everyone keeps an open mind while this next phase is worked through. We will only get this opportunity once, and it will probably be the biggest decision we ever make – so let's embrace it and do it right.