15 September 2017

Repairing the damage Cyclone Debbie did to flood protection schemes in April is a priority for Bay of Plenty Regional Council this year.

Following this severe weather event the council had initially allocated $10 million under its 2017/18 annual plan for the assessment and remediation of flood protection schemes, regional council chairman Doug Leeder said.

“This will be funded from existing reserves and will not directly impact rates.”

This work comes under the council’s resilience and safety outcome, which guides the council’s work in protecting communities and ensuring they can cope with natural hazards.

“Over the coming year we will spend 18 percent – more than $30.5 million - of our $171 million annual budget on helping ensure Bay of Plenty communities are resilient to natural hazards and flooding, so safety is improved and maintained,” Doug says.

“For those who spend time on the water we have increased our maritime budget by $92,000 to enable additional patrols in Tauranga Harbour, implemented a new patrol in Ōhiwa Harbour and improved our sign and education material across the region.”

The council’s resilience and safety work also includes flood forecasting, management and protection, and drainage schemes across the Bay of Plenty. It manages five major and 37 minor river and drainage schemes and more than 490km of canals and drains. It maintains 352km of stop banks to protect towns and rural land and monitors 48 catchments for flood risk in collaboration with seven territorial authorities.

“We also work with city and district councils across the Bay of Plenty to better prepare for and respond to emergencies,” Doug says.

“The Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Group oversees emergency management functions for the region. During the past year there were eight significant Civil Defence events that required the group co-ordination centre to be activated, and we are committed to beginning construction of a dedicated Group Emergency Co-ordination Centre. Over the past year we also trained 65 additional staff in Civil Defence and emergency management processes and roles.

“We will continue to share our knowledge and look for ways to improve on how we deliver our services to our communities to ensure a more resilient Bay of Plenty.”

More information on the regional council’s work is included in the full 2017/18 Annual Plan. Copies are available from any regional council office, libraries across the Bay of Plenty or online at www.boprc.govt.nz.