To protect people, property and livelihoods from our region’s most frequent natural hazard, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council looks after nearly $370 million worth of flood protection assets designed to help manage river flows and collectively work to minimise flood risks.

Flood protection is expensive and one of the main issues our Council is facing is balancing the cost to ratepayers while maintaining and upgrading this infrastructure to keep up with the changes in our climate.

On 6 April 2017, the Whakatāne District experienced widespread damage to homes, property, businesses, the natural environment and infrastructure as a result of the events generated by ex-Tropical Cyclones Debbie and Cook. Analysis of flow data gathered during that time, together with the growing body of knowledge about changing weather patterns, has shown that flood defences on the lower Whakatāne River need to be upgraded if they are to continue to protect the community from flooding in the coming decades.

About the project

Project Future Proof is a programme of work to ensure that the stopbanks, floodwall and stoplogs (temporary flood barriers that are installed at times of high river flow) along the Whakatāne town centre stretches of the awa will continue to protect the community from flooding.

The first part of the project will address known seepage issues on sections of the stopbank along Kakahoroa Drive and Quay Street.  Seepage is when more water than is desirable passes through the stopbank and can lead to stopbank failure.

Subsequent stages will be determined once we have the results of testing and investigations.

We are also looking into other ways to protect and manage this river in the coming years to keep up with the changes in our climate that will likely bring more frequent and heavier rain events.

Whakatāne waterfront

What’s happening now

We have completed the initial phase of investigating and testing the stopbanks and floodwalls to determine what needs to be done to reduce the pressure on the stopbank during large flood events.

These investigations have helped our engineers to better understand the ground conditions and what options are technically viable.

The results will help determine the upgrades required and provide information about possible future design options.

At the same time as investigating the town centre flood protection assets, our engineers are exploring high level catchment specific flood mitigation options as additional or alternative solutions to ensure the protection keeps up with the changes in our climate.

Community

We are working on an engagement plan with Whakatāne District Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa.

We are committed to open communication with iwi, hapū and the wider community in the planning to safeguard the town’s flood defence structures.

We will share more information and seek public feedback on the project once more is known about engineering options.

Whakatāne waterfront
Whakatāne waterfront. Photo credit: Jos’s Photography and Framing.

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PROJECT CREATED

18 Sep 2020

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Project Updates

6 months ago

Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be doing investigations along the Wairere Stream from Quay Street to Wairere Falls next week as part of its efforts to understand more about the condition of Whakatāne’s flood defences.

2 July update

Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be doing investigations along the Wairere Stream from Quay Street to Wairere Falls next week as part of its efforts to understand more about the condition of Whakatāne’s flood defences.

From Monday 5 to Wednesday 7 July, Perry Geotech Limited staff will be working on a number of mobile rigs and hand devices.  The work along the Wairere Stream is focused on finding out the soil composition, ground stability and hydraulic capacity of the stream bed and the results will be used to determine what needs to happen next.

There will be some traffic disruption in the area identified so please be patient, take care in the area and drive safely around the worksite.

These investigations are part of a multi stage project called Project Future Proof: Whakatāne Town Centre Flood Defence Upgrade which is ensuring that our stopbanks and floodwalls will continue to protect the community from flooding in the coming decades.

7 months ago

Mataatua Reserve Geotechnical Investigation

On the 12 and 13th of May (weather permitting) we will be doing geotechnical investigations at Mataatua Reserve.

Geotechnical Investigations Mataatua Reserve

One of Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s core roles is to make sure our infrastructure is protecting our people, property and livelihoods.

In Whakatāne that means making sure that our stopbanks and floodwalls will continue to protect the community from flooding in the coming decades.

As part of this we are doing some upcoming work at Mataatua Reserve.

What we’re doing:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council need to undertake geotechnical investigation work in the Mataatua Reserve on the 12th and 13th of May (weather dependent).

Why we’re doing it:

In April 2017, Whakatāne experienced prolonged torrential rain which caused extensive flooding and damage to homes, properties, business and infrastructure. Using data gathered during that time, alongside our growing knowledge of changing weather patterns, we’ve found that flood defences on the lower Whakatāne River need to be upgraded.

This work will be a multi stage project called Whakatāne Future Proof. We are currently in an initial phase of investigating and testing the stopbanks and floodwalls to determine what needs to be done to reduce the pressure on the stopbank during large flood events.

The work in Mataatua Reserve is focused on finding out the soil composition and ground stability.

What you’ll see:

You will see a couple of Perry Geotech Ltd contractors on a mobile rig. They will be pushing a 30mm cone head mechanically into the ground until it hits riverbed rock or other highly dense soil material and can’t go any deeper. The rod is then retracted from the hole.

Eight tests will be done in the areas outlined in yellow on the map below.

Please keep away from the site identified while this work is underway.

How we’ll do it safely:

We understand that any work done on the Mataatua Reserve needs to be done in a way that keeps everyone safe. There will be no risk to the community during this testing.

There will be no ground disturbance other than a 30mm rod being driven into the ground.

No soil will be removed, and the cone will be cleaned onsite to ensure all materials are left in the test hole and the machinery free of dirt.

The 30mm grass holes will be plugged, and grass will grow back within a month.

What’s next?

The results will be used to determine the level of upgrade required and what options are technically viable.

Once we have collated the results, we’ll be consulting with you and will keep you informed every step of the way.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions, please contact:

Lars Thiel-Lardon, Project Manager
0800 884 880
Lars.Thiel-Lardon@boprc.govt.nz

map of geotech investigations

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