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Published: 2016-08-23 00:00:00

Installation of an innovative automated floodgate has capped off a major community investment in making Graham’s Creek residents on the Coromandel safer from flooding.

The floodgate – installed just last week – is one of the jewels in the crown of the extensive flood mitigation works at Graham’s Creek, which are now fully operational.

As water levels during a flood event build in the stream a ‘float mechanism’ closes the floodgate automatically in order to divert maximum water flow across the designated spillway, thereby helping to prevent properties on Ocean Beach Rd being flooded.

The floodgate was developed by Waikato Regional Council, with the help of Wintec engineering student Juan Martinez, Todd Foundation funding, Tonkin and Taylor Consultants and Kopu Engineering.

“It’s great to have this fantastic new floodgate in place, without it needing to cost the earth, and having our Hauraki operations staff across to help with the construction has really contributed to keeping costs down,” said Waikato Regional Council’s Coromandel manager Graeme Osborne.

The local community is being invited to celebrate completion of the works at an open day this Saturday.

The works will provide a far greater level of flood mitigation to the local Graham’s Creek community at Tairua than was originally anticipated.

“This success is a tribute to the excellent co-operation between the local community, the regional council and Thames-Coromandel District Council,” said Mr Osborne.

Connecting with an upgraded causeway, the works will provide properties around Graham’s Creek with protection from the small flood events Tairua frequently experiences, as well as more significant events like those that might occur once every 50 years.

The scheme has already proved its worth when heavy rain struck in late April. That event would have normally seen many properties along Ocean Beach Road affected by flood water but there was no damage, despite the scheme still being under construction at the time.

The Graham’s Creek Working Party involving local community members was set up in 2014 to identify a preferred design for the works. This group was key in determining a design that achieved sound flood mitigation for the greatest number of properties, at minimal cost and that improved water quality and biodiversity values in the area. It is also future proofed and can be added to at a later date should the community so desire.  

“Coming up with the final design involved countless hours of wading through technical information, ecological reports and design schedules. Working party members also took on board ideas and concerns raised by others in the community, questioning and challenging our thinking to ensure their community got the best result,” said Mr Osborne.

The working party members were Graham Turner, Joyce Birdsall, Phil Smith, Tony Jacobs, Ian Jowett and Jim Jackson and were supported by both regional and local elected members. Many others took the time to share their ideas and knowledge.

The works will be officially opened at the open day on Saturday from 10.30am to 1.30pm at Graham’s Creek.

After a formal welcome there will be an opportunity to discuss the design and operation of the works with council staff and working party members.

The regional council’s Whitianga office on 0800 800 401 can help with any queries on the open day.