Regional council decides on Hutt CBD flood protection scheme
Greater Wellington Regional Council has decided that Option A is the preferred approach to providing flood protection in the stretch of the Hutt River between Ewen Bridge and Kennedy-Good Bridge, accepting the Hutt Valley Flood Management Sub-committee's recommendation on the options.
This means the scheme will now go forward for preliminary design, costings and implementation timeframes over the next year, ahead of Resource Management Act hearings in 2017. The public and submitters will have an opportunity to have input into the preliminary design and a more formal opportunity to submit through the Resource Management Act hearings process.
"This is a great decision for Lower Hutt. It means that we will be able to provide flood protection to the agreed 1 in 440 year standard for around 100 years through a flood protection scheme that will accommodate the higher levels of rainfall we expect to occur as climate change continues," says sub-committee chair and regional councillor Sandra Greig.
The river channel will be widened, stopbanks will increase in height alongside the river and property will be purchased on Marsden Street and Pharazyn Street to make way for the scheme.
"Affected owners of these properties have been kept in the loop at every step of the process of deciding on the option. Now the way ahead is clear and they have certainty we will be able to enter detailed discussions about their circumstances so that they can make decisions that meet their needs. We will ensure they have all the expert advice they need to make those decisions. However, no construction will begin in Pharazyn Street and Marsden Street areas for at least five years so there is plenty of time to get it right," says Sandra Greig.
As well as significantly improved flood protection Option A also includes proposals to link parts of Lower Hutt's CBD to the riverbank, creating a new and lively focus for the area as foreshadowed in Hutt City Council's 'Making Places' urban renewal strategy. Greater Wellington Regional Council and Hutt City Council are also working with NZTA to ensure the option links into any improvements that are developed for the Melling Bridge and intersection.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says, "With the increased certainty and information about climate change, this is a crucial project for Lower Hutt. We are pleased a decision has been made, and are looking forward to working with the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Greater Wellington Regional Council to progress plans."
Option A will cost approximately $143 million. How the individual components of the project will be funded will be developed through the preliminary design phase.
"We would like to thank the Lower Hutt community for their active participation in making this decision. We believe it reflects what the community wants, and we've heard the call for us to get on and provide the level of flood protection that's needed in this stretch of the river," says Sandra Greig.
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