If you live, work or use the land around a stopbank or other flood defence and drainage asset in the Bay of Plenty, you may need to check out the new rules from Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
New bylaws came into effect this month, following an extensive review and consultation process during the past 18 months.
Regional Council’s Rivers and Drainage Assets Manager, Kirsty Brown, says that the Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws 2020 that came into effect on February 1 was a significant milestone for Toi Moana.
“Our flood protection and drainage structures form the backbone of our flood defences and it is really important that they work when they need to.
“This is why we have these rules [the Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws] in place and we encourage people to check in to see if they are in a bylaw applicable area. If you are planning any works in and around stopbanks or pump stations, please check with the Regional Council first, because you may need our approval before starting,” says Kirsty.
She explains the rules are about striking a balance between public use of these spaces, and safety.
“Council needs to know about any risks to the integrity of the flood protection structures or of any activities that we might need to keep an eye on. It is worth noting that this applies whether it is an urban or rural environment – flood assets are found in both.”
The Floodway and Drainage Bylaw is a regulation that protects river scheme assets, including the Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme, from damage or misuse, so that Regional Council can help defend people, property and livelihoods from flooding.
Opotiki stopbank. Photo: BOPRC.
The Bylaw applies to land adjoining the region’s flood protection and drainage scheme assets. Those assets include drains, canals, stopbanks, floodgates, pumping stations, flood walls or river edge plantings and rock work - together they are designed to help manage river flows and collectively work to minimise flood risk.
“There are some really practical rules in place like ‘Look up and live’ - so people don’t hit overhead wires, or ’check before you dig’ - to make sure you don’t hit an underground cable. I would really like people who are living or working near council-owned drains, canals, stopbanks, floodgates, pumping stations, flood walls or river edge plantings and rock work to check in with us before they do any works – if in doubt, check us out,” says Kirsty.
“If you are considering constructing or removing a building or structure, installing a culvert, planting or removing trees, or undertaking something larger-scale like converting land to horticulture, please take a moment to visit our website and check what you need to do. Or feel free to ring and talk to someone in the assets team. We can let you know if you are in an applicable area and provide advice on how to apply for a bylaw authority if you need one.
“Make sure you know the rules before you start work to prevent any issues,” says Kirsty.
The Bylaw is reviewed every ten years to make sure that it's still relevant and fit for purpose. Consultation was undertaken during 2020 and the bylaw was adopted by Council on December 17 2020. It came into effect on February 1 2021. More information is available on the Regional Council website. Or call 0800 884 880.