Work on a groundbreaking stop bank beside the Tūtaekurī River has marked the beginning of work to improve the resilience of communities living on the Heretaunga Plains.
Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Stuart Nash formally opened the works yesterday.
“This is building resilience in Hawke’s Bay’s communities as the region faces the challenges of a changing climate,” says Minister Nash.
“This project on the Heretaunga Plains is part of our COVID-19 recovery package. It is part of a core Government strategy to strengthen our regional economies, help the communities and businesses in those regions grow and create jobs”
This project is part of the Resilient River Communities projects which are co funded by the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG). $12.8 million of this project is funded by the IRG, and $7.2 million by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
“I am proud of what we are achieving, even though this strategy has only existed for a little over three years. This regional project is one of many that we’ve invested in, through the $300 million in the recovery fund, working alongside councils, iwi, businesses, primary producers and community groups,” the Minister said.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive, James Palmer says the Heretaunga Plains Flood Control Scheme (HPFCS) upgrade is one of the four co-funded projects through the Infrastructure Reference Group to kick off in the region, supporting local employment while building community resilience.
“Over 80% of Hawke’s Bay’s population lives on the Heretaunga Plains, so we’re working to increase the level of protection and building resilience for these communities in the face of climate change,” says Mr Palmer.
“The works are starting in Taradale where we are strengthening the stop bank to protect the community from a 1 in 500-year flood.”
The funding will also support local businesses through the pandemic, he said.
“Collaborating with local business is key to this project, and we’re working closely with Te Wai Mauri Kaitiaki Rangers from Waiohiki Marae to support jobs and opportunities for locals wanting to engage in restoration and enhancement mahi on the whenua and awa.”
“We’re also engaging with Dodge Contracting who redeploy staff through the Ministry of Social Development for the Mana for Mahi Programme and Hastings District Council’s Jobs for Heretaunga Programme.”
The stop bank upgrade along Taradale is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
At least eight sites are planned to be upgraded through the three-year course of this programme. Ground investigations have started to determine the need for future work on four other stop banks in this major asset management programme, at Ngatarawa, Roy’s Hill, East Clive and Moteo