Protecting people and their property number one priority for Waikato District Council

24 July 2020

Recent high waves on the west coast really bring home the impacts of our increasingly unpredictable climate.

These natural events are becoming more and more common, and the recent work done by Waikato District Council as part of the Proposed District Plan looks to manage the impact these events have on people, their property and infrastructure over time.

Submissions open on Monday, 27 July for Stage 2 of the Proposed Waikato District Plan.  

The review of the Operative Waikato District Plan is being done in two stages. Stage 1 covered all topics other than natural hazards and the impacts of climate change and was open for submissions in 2018. Council’s independent hearings panel is currently hearing these submissions. Stage 2 completes the review of the Operative District Plan.

This latest stage of the plan review covers river flooding, flood ponding, coastal inundation and erosion, mine subsidence in Huntly East, land instability, wildfire and liquefaction.

This revised information takes a more detailed approach to managing natural hazards than what is currently in the Operative District Plan. It is based on new research, technical assessments and modelling of natural hazards in the Waikato district and will roll out a consistent approach to hazards across the Waikato and former-Franklin districts.

Everyone in the district will be affected by this part of the plan to varying degrees depending on the natural hazard risks that might be in their area.

Properties at risk of flooding, ponding, coastal inundation and erosion or mine subsidence are identified on the proposed planning maps which can be found at www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/stage2maps.

The proposal is that these areas will be subject to specific policies and rules that relate to the hazard risks that are present.

High risk hazard areas are areas where it would not be sensible to allow new development and subdivision. Because of the uncertainty around natural hazard events and the changing climate, Council has also mapped land that has the potential to be impacted by natural hazards in the next 100 years.

The proposed rules don’t make land worthless or mean it can’t be developed, but they make sure that development considers the potential risks and how they can be avoided or reduced – for example, this could mean building a re-locatable house so it can be moved, in the future, if the potential hazard becomes an issue.

We are also proposing some general rules that will apply to all properties in the district that will help manage the impacts of liquefaction, land instability and fire risk.

Waikato District Council Planning and Policy Manager Jim Ebenhoh says Council is aware that it’s not popular to put lines on a map to identify hazard areas. “We want people to remember that not only are we required to do this, but we need to. It’s the right thing to do. We need to ensure that houses are built in relatively safe places. We have examples in the district where natural hazards are affecting buildings including people’s homes, like in Port Waikato where the community is currently dealing with coastal erosion. One bach has already been removed due to the risk.

“Going forward, we need to think about the bigger picture. We need to think about the impacts of changing climate and we need to manage land use and development in order to protect people and their property from these natural hazards.

“To do this we’ve relied on the most up to date modelling available to create these proposed hazard areas. But this modelling doesn’t pick up the nuances, history and information that we as people have. We know our district has a history of flooding because the Waikato River runs through it. If you’ve lived in this district for long enough, you will know if your property has been prone to flooding. You will be able to imagine what a 1-in-100 year flood would look like and the impacts it would have on your property. I urge you to have a look at the maps and tell us what you think. If you don’t agree with what you see, tell us. Make sure your voice is heard,” Mr Ebenhoh says.

Have your say

Everyone is encouraged to have their say by making a submission. Submissions are open from Monday 27 July 2020 and close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 September 2020.

All information, including a submission form, will be on www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/sayit from Monday. Alternatively, you can access this information at any of our offices and libraries from next week.

You will be able to lodge a submission by:

• posting it to Waikato District Council, Private Bag 544, Ngaruawahia, 3742

• delivering it to the front counter at any of our offices or libraries

• emailing it to districtplan@waidc.govt.nz.

If you have any questions or want to arrange an appointment with a planner, please call us on 0800 492 452 or email districtplan@waidc.govt.nz. Properties which are included in a proposed hazard map area will receive a letter detailing what this means to them and their property.

Drop-in sessions

Come along at any stage during the times below to ask questions and get help with making a submission from our independent “Friend of the Submitter”.

Huntly: Tuesday 25 August, 3pm-6:30pm, Riverside Room, Civic Centre, Main St Huntly

Tuakau: Wednesday 26 August, 3pm-6:30pm, Tuakau Memorial Hall, 70 George St, Tuakau

Ngaruawahia: Thursday 27 August, 3pm-6:30pm, Ngaruawahia Memorial Hall, 5 Galileo St, Ngaruawahia

Tamahere: Tuesday 1 September, 3pm-6:30pm, Tamahere Community Centre, 21 Devine Rd, Tamahere

Raglan: Wednesday 2 September, 3pm-6:30pm, Raglan Hall Supper Room, next to the Town Hall, 41 Bow St, Raglan

Port Waikato: Sunday 6 September, 10am-2:30pm, Community Hub (new building)

ENDS

Editor’s note: The Waikato District Plan gives guidance as to what you can do with your land, for example, whether you can subdivide your property and where you can site a building. It also protects our cultural heritage and our environment by identifying Maaori sites of significance, heritage buildings and significant natural areas. It is reviewed every 10 years and is a statutory document developed under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). 

For more information please contact:
Teresa Hancock
Senior Communications & Engagement Advisor
Waikato District Council
027 706 5776
communications@waidc.govt.nz