Sunday, May 19, 2024

Auckland Mayor digs in ahead of storm season

Auckland Council has visited more than 1,300 properties affected by last year’s floods, working with residents to helping them understand how to best prepare their properties for the winter ahead.

The Council says last year’s extreme storm events brought into sharp focus the vulnerabilities of communities, and the need for property owners to increase their preparedness and resilience to weather events.

Teams from across the Council have partnered up to address this need, which includes them getting out and visiting Aucklanders, explaining to risk-prone residents how important it is to keep their properties clear, clarifying what an overland flow path is and showing them ways to reduce current flood risks and prepare for future weather events.

Mayor Wayne Brown identified several simple fixes last year when visiting flood affected areas of the city and said that while he believed they were not the complete solution, they would go a long way to making a difference.

“I am thankful for all the effort our teams have put into flood prevention since I called for action a year ago,” he said.

“The mayoral grant allocated for this work is being used wisely and as we head into winter, the advice being offered will help communities understand what they need to do to be prepared for downpours and how to keep themselves and their communities safe.”

Auckland Council’s Compliance Manager, Adrian Wilson says the flood events exposed the public’s low awareness of their individual flood risks and how to respond.

“The teams are keen to support and advise property owners of their responsibilities to manage stormwater on their properties,” he said.

“When we visit a property, we talk with the resident, identify any problems on their property that are or could become a potential flood hazard to them and their neighbours and suggest ways to reduce it.

“From the sites visited, we are seeing voluntary compliance from the owners in approximately 30-40 per cent of cases.

“We have implemented a graduated plan to educate first and enforce second.

“So far, 14 notices to fix have been issued under the Building Act and 30 abatement notices under the Resource Management Act and Auckland Unitary Plan,” says Mr Wilson.         

Auckland Council’s Head of Sustainable Outcomes, Tom Mansell says everyone has a role to play in maintaining the stormwater network to reduce the impact of flooding.

“Understanding the network is not just pipes, drains, and culverts, but also includes natural overland flow paths, goes a long way to understanding what you do on your property and how it impacts those ‘downstream’ in a weather event.”

“As our climate changes and urban areas intensify, the way overland flow path functions will become increasingly important. By keeping them clear and allowing water to flow freely and safely through our neighbourhoods will help keep whānau, property and communities stay safe during storms,” he said.

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