Recovery from the August 2022 severe weather event

In August 2022, a severe weather event caused significant damage to both public and private property.

Flooding and numerous slips impacted the roading and piped infrastructure network, gravel build-up in rivers and streams has been significant, and the region still has a number of red and yellow stickered homes. The scale and impact of the weather event, and the more recent national emergency, shows vividly our climate is changing and that the impacts are becoming more frequent and severe. The event highlighted the importance of preparing for, and adapting to, the effects of climate change and reinforces the priority Council has given to climate change response in the Long Term Plan and the work underway through this recovery to build back stronger.

What we’re proposing
Council is proposing to complete recovery work in ways that make the city’s infrastructure more resilient and help reduce impact from future similar weather events. Taking this approach will aid the protection of life and property (private and public – including Council facilities, assets and reserves) and support us to maintain current levels of service. The recovery will take significant funding and effort from the Council and is expected to take six years. This timeframe reinforces the scale of damage and the amount of civil construction works that can be realistically delivered each year. It also reflects Council’s ambition to rebuild more resiliently so it can better withstand future events and to ensure the work is done efficiently. It could be done more quickly but it would be more costly and have greater risk of not being done to the desired high standard.

Work includes:

  • Ensuring future planning adequately addresses known levels of risk to infrastructure in similar weather events
  • Undertaking gravel extraction and protection solutions in many rivers and streams to improve flood resilience
  • Remediating slips from Council land impacting or potentially impacting private property (or other options to be considered if remediation costs are prohibitive).

The estimated cost of recovery work in 2023/24 is $11.5 million (excluding any recovery funding from other sources). This will be on top of the $20 million we are forecasting to spend on recovery work in 2022/23, which as unbudgeted expenditure is added to our debt.

In 2023/24 the key recovery works will include:

  • $525,000 for water supply recovery projects to improve resilience at the Water Treatment Plant
  • $240,000 for various wastewater network improvements around Nelson.
  • $930,000 for the stormwater upgrade of Days Track Catchment 3 (deferred from 2022/23)
  • $1.9 million for stormwater recovery projects for various network improvements around Nelson and the design for upgrading numerous stormwater intakes, including Devenish Place and Cleveland Terrace
  • $2.8 million for flood protection recovery projects, including gravel removal from streams/ rivers, river channel bank protection and associated stream/river improvements.

The total estimated cost of recovery is $57.1 million, while an estimated 40% is likely to be covered by insurance and central government contributions. As the recovery work will be debt funded through the Emergency Fund rather than immediately raised by rates, Council is planning to pay off the net cost over ten years. We believe the ten year funding model strikes the right balance between not imposing excessive costs immediately but not deferring it so long that we run a high risk of not paying this event off before the next. The ongoing funding decisions will need to be considered in the Long Term Plan 2024–2034 consultation process.

Tell us what you think

Do you agree we should fund the August 2022 severe weather event recovery work over 10 years? Let us know here