Feedback from Workshop One - Tuesday 18th February 2014

over 5 years ago

Workshop One – Tuesday 18th February 2014 : Facilitated by Tee Carroll

Following welcome comments by Katikati/Waihi Beach Ward Councillor, Peter Mackay, Tee introduced herself and the format for the workshop.  The objectives of the workshop were also outlined.

Workshop participants were invited to talk about their experiences of flooding over the years.

Peter – said he had not experienced flooding (as he was a relatively new resident) but had heard a lot about it.  He questioned why nothing had been done about it when it had been going on for so long.  He also felt that some people must have purchased their properties knowing that they could possibly flood.

Gloria – has been a resident of the area for 44 years.  She said she knows the history of flooding well.  Gloria’s view was that it was the responsibility of property owners to adapt to issues, by lifting their house if need be, or alternatively, put up with it.  Gloria spoke about the history of Three Mile Creek, and that it was diverted away from the Athenree Estuary directly to the sea.  In Gloria’s view this was the cause of the issues.  Gloria spoke about her development experience (Pohutukawa Sands) and that this subdivision never flooded.  She spoke about how the Council came along and ripped up existing pipes and put in new ones and that now this subdivision takes stormwater from the loop.  Gloria was adamant that rates should not increase further and that if something needs to be done to fix the flooding situation then something else should be sacrificed.  Gloria acknowledged that not all the issues were due to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Frank – is a resident of Wilson Road and has lived at this property for 25 years.  He did not feel his situation was as bad as others.  He felt that the reason why a solution hadn’t been found now was money.  Frank described his section as being the lowest and that during heavy rain events surrounding properties drained into his.  Because there is only a 4 inch drain it cannot cope in big down pours.  He also thinks the pipe is blocked.  There have been occasions when his car is sitting in a foot of water and the shed is full of water, but it hasn’t ever affected the house.  Five to six times Frank has had to clean up mess, particularly in his shed.  Frank said that water from his area used to go into a big drain by Snell Road and from there down Didsbury.  During intense rain he can see all the water coming down off his neighbour’s roofs.

Sue – has lived 26 years at her address.  Sue described the 2013 flood event where she and her husband were travelling in separate cars to get home.  When her husband didn’t arrive home she became worried only to learn that he had gone to the tennis club to assess the situation and was sandbagging the club and people’s homes along The Terrace.  Sue’s sister-in-law, who lives in Wilson Road, was badly affected by the flood water.  When Sue arrived at her sister-in-law’s place the flood waters were rising rapidly.  Electrical gear was completely ruined.  Everything had to be moved up high and the fire brigade helped with this.  Sue was then called away to the RSA (in her civil defence capacity) which was being set up as a welfare centre.  The evacuation of the Top 10 holiday park was anticipated but instead of people coming to the RSA they made alternative arrangements.  Sue and others waited at the RSA until 2:00am but no one came.  Upon visiting her retail business in the morning Sue could see that a massive tree had fallen into the creek and that about 1 metre of land had been lost.  It took a lot of negotiation to get the tree removed.  While the creek goes through private property it is a watercourse that takes stormwater from other properties.  Shortly after the flood event Sue and her husband organised a public meeting and SWAT (Stormwater Action Team) was formed.  The meeting was well attended and gave people the opportunity to share their stories.  It was both emotional and traumatic.  Sue said that some people felt that they did not want to live at Waihi Beach anymore.

Kimberley – Has been a resident for 3 years and wasn’t aware of the longstanding issues.  Kimberley acknowledged that much of Waihi Beach was a flood plain and that there were both pros and cons of development.  Kimberley’s view was that Waihi Beach needed to come together, but there is a need to understand that some areas will always flood.  Kimberley spoke about where she lived in the south west of France and that insurers would only cover 2 flood events and that after that residents needed to accept/absorb the costs themselves, or decide to move.

Bas – Lives in Shaw Road but has not experienced flooding.  Bas said that he accepted every now and then he’d get a bit of water in his garage.  In Bas’s view the flooding issue is to a large extent caused by the changing nature of how we live (sealed surfaces).

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

Future Planning

  • Any new housing in affected areas should be on poles;
  • Future of property values at Waihi Beach;
  • Climate change, heavier rainfall, need to plan for the future;
  • Natural flood areas should not be filled for future development;
  • Infrastructure lags behind development;
  • Stringent building regulations are needed to recognise the environment;
  • Properties and environment are here to stay – what can we do better in the future?;
  • Inadequate upper catchments i.e. behind Wilson’s Farm, Maranui etc;
  • Increased land coverage by new housing;
  • Island View reserve being built upon?

Drainage

  • Upgrade the drainage system
  • Darley's drain outlet inadequate – tiny pipe for huge catchment;
  • Maintenance and managing water runoff and drains on regular
    basis by Council;
  • Lack of maintenance of stormwater system ie blocked drains,
    kerbing and channelling etc;
  • Water works to clean drains to prevent floods; 
  • Drains don’t have to be cleaned out if they are going in the
    right direction;
  • Drainage from some areas is restricted due to pipe size. Believe that previously drained in opposite direction.

Communication/Support

  • Storm alert communication via mobile alert, community notice board;
  • We need the council to really listen!
  • Community base support for aftermath of flooding/storm.

Creeks

  • 3 Mile Creek often blocked up by sand – maybe Council can redirect
    to original source ie Estuary?;
  • Blocking of creeks ie water unable to escape (creeks would be
    better diverted);
  • 3 Mile Creek money used to unblock it should be used to fix
    problem permanently and divert to natural water course;
  • 3 Mile Creek was illegally diverted into the ocean, put it
    back to its original water course into the estuary going past the airport;
  • 3 Mile Creek can block up in a storm, be cleaned out and two
    weeks later it happens again.

History

  • One in five year floods happen everywhere;
  • People tend to look only at the positive until the negative
    happens to them;
  • Waihi Beach has a history of adhoc development characterised
    by strong personalities.

Budget

  • Council – where does rate money go?  Why no money available?
  • Budget planning to span more than 45 years;
  • What part does National Government have to fund?

Consultation has concluded