Feedback from Workshop Nine - Saturday 1st March 2014 (Morning Session)

over 5 years ago

Workshop Nine –Saturday 1st March 2014: Facilitated by Allan Sole (Morning Session)

Allan opened the meeting by introducing himself, welcoming everyone along and the inviting Karyl Gunn (Councillor for the Maketu/Te Puke Ward) to speak.  Karyl reiterated that her role in attending today was to listen to what the community had to say.

In giving some context to the workshop, Allan explained Council’s position.  Acknowledged that people don’t feel heard and that a clear message ‘that things have got to change’ had been received.  

Participants were then invited to introduce themselves, after which time Allan offered the opportunity for each person to describe their experience/stories of flooding.

Lyn – Said that because she’s not a stormwater expert she has to reply on Council.  She referred to the land by the skatepark being filled/raised, which means flood water now goes onto her properties.  Maintenance is not being done.  Lyn spoke about the pub owners wanting to put a golf course in at Broadlands block, which she objects to.  She has had numerous meetings with council about her and her neighbours flooding issues.  Lyn said the culvert near her property had been put in backwards.  She also said the flooding events were terrifying for some people who had to call 111 and be carried out of their homes.

Mark – from Savage Ave.  Said that some recent works had improved the situation but Council does not appear to have a commitment to maintenance. 
Council continually changes contractors with no transfer of knowledge.  They don’t understand the intimacy of the stormwater system in our area and rely on locals to tell them.  Staff don’t transfer that knowledge to them.  Mark has given council’s Chief Executive and Group Manager of Engineering Services these concerns.  All of this knowledge just disappears into the ether.  The corporate knowledge is just not good enough.  It shouldn’t be up to locals to keep re-educating, and at this point Win (Mark’s wife) spoke about a particular drain that keeps disappearing off the drainage plan.  Mark ‘wears’ the stormwater from Brighton Reserve and Darleys Creek.  Lack of cleaning causes issues.  In the old days local contractors use to monitor the streams/creeks and would tell Council they were going to clear them particularly if a storm was coming.

Steve – believes the maintenance contractors are sitting on a pretty easy wicket.  In his view Waihi Beach has gone backwards since WBOPDC took over.

Marie – has owned property here since 1959.  Everything had been fine up until the weather bomb hit.  Is there a drain blocked?  All Marie’s neighbours have flooded.

Gwyneth – from Pio Shores.  We need a better outlet.  It used to be through the marae.  It is no longer a suitable outlet for Pio Shores.  Possibly the outlet should be to the Athenree Estuary but what are the cost implications?

Norm – both a property owner and a regional councillor, but today sitting with property owner hat on.  Norm was interested to hear what people’s  expectations of the Council were.  Are there even answers for the big weather bombs?

Phil – said that you can’t plan for a weather bomb.  Phil concurred with Mark’s comments.  It must be absolutely frustrating to have keep telling council or contractors the same things time and again.  Although Phil hasn’t experienced flooding he has seen what happens.  The maintenance crew are not efficient.  He also referred to what happened to the Top 10 Holiday Park as a result of the Lake/Dam overtopping.  Council needs to acknowledge that there are things it could do proactively.

Frank – from Pio Shores.  Owns a holiday home with a number of other family members.  Frank said that from 2006 until now they had experienced 6  floods in the rumpus room.  It started when the Otawhiwhi drain was blocked but Frank acknowledged that the marae had safety concerns.  Then Frank found out that their property was in a flood zone.  Insurance is a big issue.  The insurance company will no longer accept claims relating to flood damage.  Being able to sustain insurance cover (even for replacement and contents) is tenuous.  Every flood event must be reported to the insurance company.  Frank also said that council put in 2 pumps which doubled capacity but they still haven’t resolved the flooding issue.

Carol and Ken – said they were heartened by the positivity they’re hearing from council to do something about the flooding issue.

Burt – According the council’s plans he’s just on the edge of the flood zone.  Burt remembers an old mate of his talking about flooding 30/40 years ago, so this isn’t a new issue. 

Muriel – is in one of the pensioner flats that flooded in 2012.  7 units got flooded and it was a terrible experience.  It was really difficult to get through to the council.  The Fire Brigade came and had to evacuate us.  It took 3 months to have the flats repaired.  Last year we didn’t get flooded but the amount of water coming over the wall was like Niagra Falls.  Some of this is due to lack of maintenance.  Muriel didn’t believe the 2012 emergency management response was very good.  No one from council rang to see if the pensioner units had any flooding. There is an issue with communication.  She tries
to talk to the council but gets no response.

Dave – from Scarborough Road.  Council come occasionally but only when the water has gone.  Dave believes the council needs to come when the water’s there.  They need to come when the old people are panicking.  The drains are blocked.  If engineers don’t turn up it’s useless.  Come and see it!

Steve – believes that anybody who has a flooding issue should contact SWAT.  They have some sting behind them and will accomplish more.  Steve referred to the facilitators assurance that the Council was listening to the community but he remains unconvinced and believes this process is just a waste of time.  Steve feels that Waihi Beach will just continue to be ignored.  One of the best things however that has come out of the workshop so far is the opinion of the people that maintenance is an issue.  The general cleanliness/tidiness of Waihi Beach was far better when maintenance people lived in the area.  The quality of maintenance now just does not compare.  Steve then spoke about the visits he had from Council’s Utilities Manager.  They (Council) now say my house floods, but since 1944 my house hasn’t flooded (but my garage does).  Now I suffer because I have an endorsement on my title.  Steve ended his comments by encouraging everyone to join the SWAT team.

Brett – Came along to hear what Council might have done remodelling for climate change.  He wasn’t aware of the flooding issues.  He would like to know how the council makes its determinations regarding primary and secondary flooding zones.  He’s not sure whether Council’s listen or not.  Brett then posed a question – about 5 years ago a new stormwater system was put in at Broadway.  Has this system worked well? 

Derek – has owned his property at the back of Wilson Road for 18 years now.  When council put in the sewage system they put dirt behind the Wilson Road shops which has exacerbated the flooding situation.  There is some much infill housing behind Citrus Ave the rain just ‘screams’ off driveways.  During last year’s weather bomb the water went into Derek’s garage.  He spoke about paying more rates at Waihi Beach than for his Auckland property which is worth about $1m.  The extra rates that council has received from new properties has not translated into stormwater upgrades.

Mark – in reference to Allan (facilitators) remarks that this is a ‘clean page’ approach by Council – he said that this is the third ‘clean start’ in the last 15 years.  He doesn’t buy it.

Steve H  – feels for people.  Flooding is a symptom.  The problem seems to be town planning and maintenance.  The solution sits with the engineers.  He hears lots of frustration and piecemeal action however acknowledges that you cannot design a solution to mitigate a weather bomb like what was experienced in 2013.  Believes the community needs a long term asset management plan.  Angela (Steve’s wife) says she wants value for the rates paid.  Maintenance seems to be a quick win.

Lyn – acknowledged the recent responsiveness of council.  Lyn also said she’s paid to raise one of her properties and the council waived the consent fees.

Scott & Jan – said that stormwater comes up from Maranui.  They too acknowledge that you cannot plan for a weather bomb like that last year.  The culvert that comes through their property is far too small. Maintenance is an issue.  There’s too much council inaction and they don’t feel they get value for their rates.

Workshop attendees were then asked to write down on Post-it notes what issues were created for the community/property owners when it flooded:

Communication

  • Get back to callers either with what action is or is not to be done
  • Too much hui not enough dui
  • Inaction of Council
  • We keep talking about this but not doing anything
  • 'Flying Squad'
  • WBOPDC not doing what they said they would do!
  • Lack of communication from Council after, after-hours calls
  • The Council don't get back to you on stormwater issues when you put in a service request
  • Call Centre does not have sufficient knowledge - don't realise when matters are urgent. Council needs to come look during an event.
  • Most of the information from today has been communicated to WBOPDC already.  Perhaps finding it, reviewing it, and acting on it would have been better than running these 12 meetings.
  • Contractors knowledge - use local knowledge - employ 'Townsmen'
  • WBOPDC doesn't appear to heed the knowledge / advice of local landowners nor do they seem to be able to store and then utilise the knowledge.
  • Corporate knowledge of stormwater system lost everytime stat leave or contractors change
  • Knowledge not transferred between Council staff and contractors
  • Council don't always listen - there is a lot of historic and current knowledge in the community.  Work with it openly don't be defensive.
  • SWAT group - acknowledged as progressive group
  • Communication 'both ways'
  • Action -vs- previous words and promises
  • Timing after and during an event response
  • Council you need to visit district when raining

Insurance

  • Our flood insurance has been revoked by our insurance company due to repeated floods
  • Insurance company refusing to give cover if one more flood

Maintenance

  • Alternative outlet needed for Pio Shores so that flood water can be released to the estuary or elsewhere.  There are 3 main flooded pools which restrict access to area
  • Maintenance needs to be regular and well done.  Clearing drains and clearing roadside guttering after spraying.
  • When a weather problem is known to be coming be proactive about preparing and doing maintenance
  • To have a permanent maintenance crew for Waihi Beach
  • Maintenance!!!
  • Weather bombs - can't plan for, however proactive with maintenance would help!
  • WBOPDC contractors seem to be more concerned about mowing grass than doing frequent regular, pro-active maintenance that would lessen the impact of heavy rain
  • Need proactive maintenance programme.  Not just cleanup after the event.
  • Level of service
  • Basic maintenance not undertaken on a regular basis
  • Maintenance of all drains in a strict work schedule
  • Pre-emptive maintenance of drains prior to heavy rain
  • Clearing of Darley's drain and pipe under Brighton Reserve to Darley's drain outlet to sea - needs to be monitored and done when required
  • Flooding of properties is the symptom.  The issue is the design and maintenance to maintain adequate capacity for 98% of rain events.
  • Drains maintenance needs improving
  • Maintenance of drains
  • The new pumps at Pio Shores have still not resolved the flooding - is there another option
  • Preventative maintenance of access ways before bad weather
  • Council should/must clear stormwater gutters and 'holes' frequently and often eg of leaves and debris in Seaview Road
  • Annual maintenance plan to proactively clean, review capacities and maintain existing infrastructure to ensure optimum performance
  • Maintenance of existing drains.

Finance

  • GST on rates - should government be helping us?
  • Decreased value of property
  • Council are accountable - what are they paid for
  • As a non effected flooding property already paying very high rates not waiting to see these rate rise further
  • Do not charge consent fees for any changes we make to prevent flooding
  • Ratepayers/owners who purchased properties after doing due diligence should not have to pay for others who bought, knowing they were in flood areas, or in ignorance
  • More proactive inspection or stormwater maintenance
  • Register of house lifters / builders.

Miscellaneous

  • Compromise of costs - everyday weather events -vs- weather bombs
  • List of house lifters for Waihi Beach
  • When will the promised walkway be put along the top of the rock sea wall? 

Consultation has concluded