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Published: 2014-08-07 00:00:00

A multi-stakeholder working group set up to help manage ongoing flooding issues at Graham’s Creek on the Coromandel has established a set of project principles, including looking to achieve minimum cost.

The working group is made up of technical staff from the Waikato Regional Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC), regional councillors Stuart Husband and Clyde Graf, and community board chair Bob Renton, as well as six landowner representatives.

Besides looking to achieve minimum cost, a group workshop held recently decided that principles that would guide decision-making include:

  • The need to meet timeframes for council funding and agreements
  • Achieving the highest level of flood protection for the greatest number of properties possible, that is cost effective and technically viable
  • Providing for aesthetic values as much as possible
  • Maximising ecological enhancement opportunities
  • Taking an integrated catchment approach to the issues
  • Providing for future planning and needs
  • Being acceptable to the floodway landowner

Meanwhile, TCDC is currently looking at design options for the causeway as part of the flood management approach and will have these reviewed by an independent engineer.

Cr Graf said input into the working group from local representatives was “vital and valuable”.

“Some great ideas for making this a project more than just ‘plain old stop banks’ will hopefully add features and solutions that don't end up being an eye-sore,” he said.

“A guided walk by Derek Boyd around the creek and floodplain with the working group had helped focus ideas on ways to try to reduce the cost of the project, with local knowledge paying dividends. This is a project that may not be music to everyone's ears, but we are doing our best to try to produce a tune that can resonate with most,” Cr Graf said.

The working group’s establishment follows the Waikato Regional Council’s decision to budget up to $600,000 for flood protection works this financial year and Thames-Coromandel District Council’s commitment in its 2014-2015 Annual Plan to upgrade the Manaia Road causeway bridge. One of the conditions attached to the council’s funding is that a joint working group refines and confirms the works programme.