2000: Alexandra flood solution includes some demolitions

Half of Alexandra's main business area would be demolished in a proposed $23 million flood protection solution for the town.

Optimx Consultants has spent the past 10 days talking to community groups and individuals to prepare a 16-page public discussion report on the future direction for the town following three floods in five years.

The company was appointed by the Alexandra Community Board to produce the $75,000 Future Directions strategy but the discussion report does not deal with the issue of liability for the flood risk.

The 1994, 1995 and 1999 Alexandra floods have been blamed on the build-up of sediment in Lake Roxburgh but the removal would be dealt with through Contact Energy's hydro-electricity dam resource consents process, Optimx team leader John Easther says in the document.

Final reports by Clutha Solutions co-ordinator Alex Adams, dealing with fixing the cause of flooding problems, and the Optimx strategy will go to the Government for recommendations on Alexandra flood solutions.

The discussion document recommends eight residential and 31 commercial properties, including the historic Bendigo Hotel and Bodkins buildings and town swimming pool, be bought on 1995 or present government valuations plus resettlement costs.

It recommends another nine flood-fringe properties, including the Alexandra police station and Orchard Rd subdivision featuring 38 sections, should be bought and seven river-bank properties be bought, relocated or flood-proofed.

"While it will be desirable to retain some heritage and special use buildings within the area proposed for the construction of the flood protection scheme, a comprehensive solution will not be possible without the properties indicated," Mr Easther says.

Flood protection works to the level of the intersection of State Highways 8 and 85 at the war memorial monument are also recommended.

Redevelopment of the flooded commercial area between Limerick St and the Clutha River to create a southern gateway for Alexandra is also proposed.

September 13: A $7 million Government top-up which takes Alexandra's flood-protection package to $21.58 million was announced yesterday, delighting townspeople, who see it as a chance to put the past behind them.

Announcing details in the town yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said the package recognised the price the Alexandra community had paid for having electricity generated at the Roxburgh dam for nearly 50 years.

The package includes $6.8 million each from Contact Energy and the Government to pay for floodbanking ($3.8 million), the purchase of about 30 flood-affected properties, compensation to others, and easements for floodbanking and flood-protection work.

Land Information New Zealand is to negotiate compensation with landowners.

A further $2.5 million is ear-marked to cover contingencies and other costs, and $4 million towards amenity enhancement, landscaping, roading and restoration of facilities such as the swimming pool and museum.

The package is worth $21.58 million including GST, although some parts are tax-exempt.

Excluding relevant tax, the package is worth about $19.6 million.

Mr Anderton said the package met the recommendations of Clutha Solutions co-ordinator Alex Adams, which were also released yesterday.

Mr Adams spent more than nine months investigating flooding problems on the river and concluded that a build-up of silt behind the Roxburgh dam downstream of the town caused flooding in 1994, 1995 and last November.

His 133-page report recommended a continuation of the flushing programme in Lake Roxburgh, which had removed some silt, and spending $250,000 on identifying sediment location, characteristics and behaviour in the lake.

Improvements to the Lake Roxburgh bed should not exclude mechanical removal of silt, agitation or movement.

He also recommended $1 million be spent removing silt to lower the Manuherikia River bed to its 1980 level.


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