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Next steps outlined for progressing Westport flood protection

24 Jul 2023

Work continues behind the scenes following Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, announcement in May of a $22.9m package to support initiatives to improve Westport’s flood resilience.

The Westport Flood Resilience Steering Group met on Friday in its role to maintain oversight and synchronisation of the various packages of work that will be delivered by the respective Councils.

Central to the wider flood resilience project are the flood banks around Westport. A technical review of the structural flood protection elements of the proposal was undertaken following the submission of the Business Case. The Regional Council, and now the Steering Group, have approved the appointment of Graeme Campbell and Peter Blackwood to consider the Business Case engineering design and the technical review to progress to an agreed final design solution.

West Coast Regional Council Chair, Peter Haddock, said that the proposal in the Business Case was never going to be the final design.

“These types of projects have several design phases to go through and this next step will answer the questions that are probably on everyone’s mind.”

Chair Haddock noted that this is a critical component of the overall project.

“Ministers Robertson and McAnulty must be assured of the soundness of the concept design ensuring that any technical issues are addressed and managed in the redesign of the structural flood protection components.

“Both Graeme and Peter have considerable river engineering experience and will be able to assist Council in moving the project onto the preliminary design phase.”

The Steering Group meeting also endorsed four workstreams to be carried out by the West Coast Regional Council. The workstreams, deemed “quick wins”, will provide significant benefits to the community by reducing floodwater inundation. They are:

  • Floating Lagoon
  • Averys
  • Abattoir Drain at Railway Bridge
  • McKenna Road

The Floating Lagoon project comprises geotechnical and survey work at this stage, whereas the other three projects will be progressed through to construction. All four quick win projects will be funded by the Regional Council and do not rely on the release of funds from government.

“This is a great first step for the community,” said Buller District Mayor Jamie Cleine. “These are some straightforward engineering solutions to reduce the risks in specific areas around Westport before work on the bigger flood protection project is finished.

Regardless of what is built, these projects will be complementary to the final flood banks.”

Further information can be found on the Kawatiri Business Case page.

Media contact
Peter Haddock | Chair | West Coast Regional Council | 027 247 9148
Jamie Cleine | Mayor | Buller District Council | 027 423 2629