Government investment of $23 million for Bay of Plenty flood protection will allow local communities to address long-standing flood risks and provide jobs, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced in Rotorua today.

These projects are being funded by the Infrastructure Reference Group’s (IRG) shovel ready projects.

“Floods have devastating effects. They destroy property, critical infrastructure, the environment, homes and livelihoods. The disruption to peoples’ lives can be long-lasting,” Winston Peters said.

‘This funding will take care of some long-standing flood risk related issues in these communities and also create much needed jobs in areas recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19.”

Fletcher Tabuteau said over 130 local jobs will be created in the Bay of Plenty through these projects and the works will be underway within the next 6-12 months.

The Rangitāiki Floodway project and Bay of Plenty River Schemes Flood Resilience project will be funded, comprising of six projects.

The Rangitāiki Floodway project – Funding supports the final stage of the project, which has been underway for the past seven years. It includes increasing the capacity of the floodway and construction of a Lower Fixed Crest Spillway to manage the flows entering the floodway from the Rangitāiki River above Edgecumbe.

Implementing Ngongotahā Stream Independent Review Recommendations – Delivering flood mitigation options to address the cause of flooding suffered by the Ngongotahā township in April 2018, which resulted in 38 houses being declared insanitary and requiring extensive repair work.

Whakatāne River flood defence upgrade – Flood defences on the lower Whakatāne River need to be upgraded to protect the community from flooding in the coming decades.

Waioeka Estuary Restoration and Floodway Enhancement Project – a large wetland to be created on the left side of the Waioeka River to relieve the flood pressure from Ōpōtiki township stopbanks.

Kaituna mole upgrade and surrounding amenity enhancements – this work upgradesa Kaituna river scheme structure at Maketū, which provides significant flood management and recreational value in the lower Kaituna catchment area.

Rangitāiki floodwall resilience mitigation – addresses the integrity of three flood wall structures on the Rangitāiki River.

“This increased flood protection is something the Edgecumbe and Rangitāiki communities have long been waiting for after the devastating flood events in 2004 and 2017,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“The cost to repair the damage to the region’s river schemes caused by the April 2017 storm was in excess of $45 million, with wider recovery costs estimated at $109 million. Completion of this suite of work will provide a greater level of flood protection and security for locals.

“This funding will make a huge difference in peoples’ lives. They will feel more confident to invest in their local assets, communities, businesses and homes, knowing they have increased flood protection,” Winston Peters said.