Flood risk study raises ire

Jul 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Hot Topics, Latest News
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Tamahere residents are furious “inaccurate” information about flood risks to their properties has been publicly released with the potential to affect their property values.

The Waikato District Council yesterday released a study into the drainage patterns of the Tamahere Country Living Zone, showing potential flood risk areas during “extreme rainfall” for 920 properties.

But the move has infuriated some residents, who say the data is dated and doesn’t take in to account extensive drainage work undertaken in the area, reported the Waikato Times.

Click for earlier story with links to flood data and information day dates.

It follows similar outrage in Hamilton earlier this year when the city council came under fire for sending “vague” letters to residents warning of possible flood risks to their properties, reported the Waikato Times.

This week the Tamahere Community Committee said they were “seriously concerned” about the release of the information given it’s potential inaccuracy.

Tamahere ward councillor Wally Hayes also thought the council should have held off releasing the information until it was as current as possible.

On its own website, the council acknowledge that the $100,000 study used aerial contour mapping data, known as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) from 2007-08 and that it didn’t take into account development of both housing and drainage in the areas since.

They were hoping to have a more “up-to-date” assessment of potential ponding in the area in six months.

Yesterday the general manager for water and facilities, Richard Bax, said they were obliged legally to release such information if they had it.

He expected the information they’d get in six months to show only changes around the 120 properties built since 2008. He said the council was open to altering the maps should property owner show them where drainage had been completed on their properties.

But Tamahere resident, and real estate agent, Leo Koppens said it was “disappointing” the council had released inaccurate information that affected so many properties prematurely.

The council has said that by law they had to record the information on LIM reports, which Mr Koppens said would undoubtedly affect some property values and could put off potential buyers.

Life-long Tamahere resident and former chairman of the Drainage Board Bill Hodgson said the information could scare a lot of people because they wouldn’t know how to read it.

He also said the survey didn’t take in to account the soakage of the land – which varied widely.

He lived through the 1958 floods and said the reality of a 100-year flood was very different to what this plan suggested.

Mr Bax said the fact that Tamahere was prone to surface ponding during heavy rain was not new information to most residents. However, this was the first time such detailed information had been obtained. A similar assessment in Te Kauwhata and Raglan, which would cost about $165,000 combined, is already underway.

He would not comment on what affect the information might have on property values but did not expect it to affect future development.

The council will use the information for stormwater improvement over the next 10 years and to help plan development.

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