Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Canterbury council welcomes flood management funding

Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) is welcoming Central Government support from Budget 2024 for flood management measures in the region. 

The Council says co-funding, drawn from a new Regional Infrastructure Fund being established by the Government, will help speed progress on a range of projects identified in the Before the Deluge 2.0 report.

The report is an updated version (following Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle) of an earlier ‘business case’, put together by unitary and regional councils, advocating for co-investment in river resilience and flood management infrastructure. 

Projects in Waitaha/Canterbury that will benefit are: 

  • Rangitata Flood and Resilience Works – Stage 2 

Further upgrading and improvements to flood management on the Rangitata River to better protect critical infrastructure (such as roads, railways and bridges) and neighbouring communities. 

  • Regional Structure Upgrade and Adaptation Programme 

Adapting critical and aged flood management infrastructure across Canterbury to meet the demands of a changing climate. 

  • Waitarakao, Washdyke and Seadown Flood Works 

Helping improve a special part of South Canterbury – an area that contains mātaitai areas, productive farmland and a key drainage scheme, critical infrastructure, businesses and houses, as well as the waterways that flow into the special environment of Waitarakao Lagoon. Additional funding will allow us to move much faster to protect these important features, which are under threat from erosion. This will support the Our Waitarakao strategy, currently being developed, to restore the health of the lagoon and wider catchment. 

“Co-investment is something we’ve been pushing for a long time, along with the rest of Te Uru Kahika – Regional and Unitary Councils Aotearoa. Flooding is the country’s most common natural hazard, and urgent action is needed to ensure our communities are resilient,” said Environment Canterbury Acting Chair, Craig Pauling.

“It’s great to see the Government is serious about this, and there’s still more we can do together. Our Council put forward seven flood protection projects in the Before the Deluge report that are priorities for our region. 

“We’ll continue to work with the Government to progress projects to help safeguard lives, property and vital infrastructure across Waitaha, as well as help us with overall river resilience including biodiversity and biosecurity outcomes. 

“I’m looking forward to keeping the conversations with the Government going and getting these initial pieces of work started.” 

The co-funding will complement increased investment in flood and river resilience that was agreed on during deliberations on our Long-Term Plan 2024-34, alongside a new targeted rate for additional flood management work in the Selwyn district. 

It also builds on the previous partnership for climate resilience and flood protection funding, which helped deliver work on-the-ground at a much faster pace than local funding from rates alone would have been able to achieve.  

“With the renewed support from Central Government, delivery of this critical work can ramp up, helping to reduce the risk of flooding for our communities and providing for the long-term resilience of our unique and treasured awa,” said A/Chair Pauling.

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