A scheme to protect more than 450 Northeast Valley properties
from flood damage has been axed after being judged by Otago
regional councillors as ''far too rich'' for those who live
in the area.
Councillors, at a committee meeting yesterday, decided not to
put the $1.7 million proposal out for public consultation
during its annual plan process.
As a result, the Dunedin suburb's residents will not be able
to have their say on the proposal and its costs to create an
area to hold flood water at Chingford Park and for a smaller
area upstream of Forrester Park landfill.
To fund the scheme, ratepayers would have faced a 72%
increase in their flood protection rates over nine years - a
cost too great for the benefits, councillors said.
However, council chairman Stephen Woodhead, while admitting
the cost was greater than he had hoped, did not support the
decision due to concerns about access along North Rd by
emergency vehicles to those living in the upper valley, which
did not have alternative access into the city during a flood.
''It's not sensible to withdraw it at this stage. At least we
would be doing something to assist the community. This is the
best we can do at the least cost.''
Cr Michael Deaker said the benefits did not match the costs
to the area's residents.
''It is far too rich for the rates bills of those who live in
Cr Trevor Kempton said valley residents, during last year's
annual plan consultation, did not favour a prior scheme
linked to the Water of Leith flood protection work, because
of the cost.
''We are offering them less and its costing them more [in
this proposal]. I don't expect their attitudes will have
changed on that basis.''
Cr Duncan Butcher said the council had done what it had said
it would by investigating what could be done to raise the
level of flood protection, but the ''cost benefit ratio'' did
not stack up.
Councillors also debated how the decision not to proceed
should be communicated to affected residents. Cr Gerry
Eckhoff suggested a meeting and leaflet drop, but Cr Gretchen
Robertson believed there would be little value in doing more
because of last year's consultation.
It was decided council staff would look at a ''cost-effective
way'' of explaining the decision to the community.
Councillors also decided land not needed for the management
of Lindsay Creek would be sold. The council had spent about
$3.5 million on land for the Leith Lindsay flood protection
scheme, of which $3.1 million was for property in the Lindsay
2001-12: Flood protection for creek included in Leith Lindsay
flood protection scheme.
2012: Council decides $12m price tag too high for Lindsay
Creek; approves Water of Leith work.
2012: New Lindsay Creek scheme proposed.
2013: New scheme costed at $1.7m; scheme abandoned.