The community reference group to help Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council create a Ngongotaha Action Plan following last April’s floods will be in place by the end of February.
The final plan will include a range of work, agreed by the community reference group and the project team, aimed at reducing the risk and impact of future storm events in Ngongotaha.
A project team, which is made up of executive and specialist/technical staff from both councils has had regular meetings since the Independent Review Panel’s report was released in December and is now determining how the community reference group will be established, resourced and operated.
The group will be made up of community and iwi representatives and elected members.
The aim of the community reference group is to provide advice and recommendations to both councils and will lead community engagement and consultation around the development of plans for short/medium and long terms actions.
The final agreed action plan is expected to inform considerations for both councils.
Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council have already been working together on immediate remedial works since the severe weather event which took place on April 29 2018.
Following the event, the two councils jointly commissioned an Independent Panel to investigate the factors that may have contributed to the flood. The Panel’s report was released in December and made 24 recommendations to help reduce the risk and the potential impact of severe storm events in the area for the future.
While primarily focussed on Ngongotaha, the learnings and recommendations form the review are expected to be applied in future decision-making for the whole of the Rotorua district where applicable.
Work already undertaken and in progress includes:
A new rain gauge has been installed on Mt Ngongotaha to provide earlier flood warnings.
Stream flow modelling work on the catchment to assess risks of flooding from different storm scenarios. This is continuing.
Other Rotorua streams are also being modelled for flood risk assessment and potential intervention works.
The appointment of a Bay of Plenty Regional Council engineer in Rotorua, available to work with residents.
Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council working together to ensure land development and consenting processes are well integrated and reflect new target levels of protection including the effects of climate change.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been stabilising stream banks with rock armouring, re-establishing trout habitats and has planted more than 700 native plants to help regenerate the Ngongotaha Stream.
A Ngongotaha community emergency response plan has been created in collaboration with the community and Rotorua Lakes Council civil defence team and sister emergency agencies.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the progress is reassuring.
“It is important for everyone to work together on this, pooling skills and resources to get the best outcome for the community.
“We want to ensure we get this right. We want to put things in place to try and reduce, as much as is possible, the impact of the future extreme weather events.”
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leader says the opportunity to work collaboratively with Rotorua Lakes Council and the Ngongotaha community to help implement recommendations of the flood review is welcomed.
“We are keen to see both councils working together to achieve a safe and resilient Ngongotaha community.
December 2018: Release of flood review report.
February 2019: Community reference group established to work through recommendations together with the technical teams.
April/May 2019: Results from catchment modelling work due and preliminary works options developed.
April/May 2019: Community engagement and dialogue on draft suite of options.
July: Finalise options report and highlight delivery timeframes. (short/medium/long term including funding scenarios)
Later 2019 onwards: Presentation of final recommendations to both councils and progressive implementation of agreed actions once adopted by councils.