Flood clean-up costs millions

The Otago Regional Council says $3.4 million has been spent in an ongoing clean-up of summer flooding that inundated large parts of Fiordland, Southland and South and West Otago more than two years ago.

The flooding in February 2020 forced major evacuations in Mataura and Gore.

However, in Balclutha too some residents were forced from their homes in a "red zone" which was at risk if the Hospital Creek Embankment failed.

A staff report to the regional council’s implementation committee today said the $750,000 repair bill for the embankment would be paid by the Clutha District Council.

The total cost of the clean-up was expected to reach $4,640,000 when it was completed in April next year, the report said.

It said the regional council’s share of the total clean-up would be about $2.7 million.

Another $1.2million would either be recouped from the National Emergency Management Agency or paid by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The flooding caused damage at 35 sites in Otago, with the majority (27 sites) identified in the Lower Clutha area.

Of the 35 sites, repairs on 29 were now completed, three were under way and the final three were investigated and left to monitor and repair if needed under a business-as-usual approach, the report said.

The major work sites the report identified were in Albert Town on the Clutha River as it flows out of Lake Wanaka, the floodbanks in Riverbank Rd, on the lower Clutha River and the embankment on the Waitepeka Stream near Balclutha.