The Steering Group is a partnership agreed by Ministers to progress the implementation of the funding agreed in the budget. In June 2023, the Steering Group convened for the first time to plan how this will work.
The Steering Group is independently chaired and comprises key leaders from Buller District Council, the West Coast Regional Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, The Department of Internal Affairs and the National Emergency Management Agency.
The Steering Group will meet regularly to maintain oversight and synchronisation of the various packages of work that will be delivered by the respective Councils. The Steering Group aims to:
- Reduce the extent, frequency and consequences of flooding from severe weather events on the Westport community, recognising and providing for the likely impacts of climate change.
- Minimise increasing or transferring flood risk to other areas or properties within the catchment or wider region.
- Ensure the community voice is heard throughout the programme, and at key junctures where significant decisions are to be taken.
- Improve the ability of the Westport community to prepare for, continue functioning during and after, and recover quickly from flooding events, recognising that ‘absolute protection’ is not possible and that there will be some level of residual risk of flooding.
- Reduce undue long-term financial burden on the community of flood mitigation and protection.
- A framework is in place that is a model for other resilience projects.
- Te Ao Māori is embedded in project thinking and design.
- Project management practices and culture are considered best in class.
While exact details are still being planned, the funded packages of work that the Steering Group will oversee and co-ordinate over the next two years include:
- $15.9m for a ringbank to reduce the risk of flooding, this is in addition to the Westport Rating District’s contribution. Further work needs to be undertaken to determine the detailed location and design of the ringbank.
- $1.5m for the reafforestation of the Organs Island area.
- $1.0m to restore the Regional Council’s emergency funds for immediate works on Buller riverbank.
- $1.0m to replenish the Regional Council’s contingency fund (which has been exhausted).
- $0.5m for a development plan for Alma Road and to support the development of low-risk areas.
- $0.25m for a Feasibility study into strategic land purchase at Alma or other low risk sites.
- $2.0m for an Adaptation Relief Fund to assist owners in high-risk areas for initiatives such as raising buildings, or to procure moveable flood barriers for example.
- $0.5m to improve local civil defence capability.
- $0.25m for a sea level monitor/tide gauge to improve early warning.
The various packages of work will be delivered by the respective Councils through the PARA framework.
The Steering Group is made up of:
- Mike Mendonça, Chair
- Peter Haddock, Chair, West Coast Regional Council (WCRC)
- Mayor Jamie Cleine, Buller District Council (BDC)
- Brett Cummings, Deputy Chair, WCRC
- Deputy Mayor Andrew Basher, BDC
- Darryl Lew, CEO, WCRC
- Steve Gibling, CEO, BDC
- Paul Barker, DIA
Sean Judd, (Previous Acting CEO), BDC
- Simon Chambers, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA ).
You can find minutes and the Terms of Reference on the West Coast Regional Council's website.