BOPRC adopts flood protection bylaws

The new Bylaws come into force on February 1. File photo.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has voted to adopt the Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws 2020.

In a statement released overnight, Council says the latest moves brings to fruition an 18-month-long process of consultation, review, submissions and hearings.

The new Bylaws come into force on February 1 and until then, the Floodway and Drainage Bylaws 2008 remain in effect.

The Bylaws only apply to assets managed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council as part of the region’s flood protection and land drainage schemes.

The Local Government Act 2002 requires all bylaws to be reviewed every ten years to ensure they are fit-for-purpose, informed by the latest science and data, and in this case, the learnings from flood events in the intervening years.

The review also took into account climate change projections, land use changes and increased pressure from land development.

Councillor Andrew von Dadelszen chaired the hearings panel comprising Councillors Norm Bruning, Kevin Winters, David Love, Toi Kai Rākau Iti and Bill Clark.

“The overarching purpose of the Bylaws is to safeguard flood protection and land drainage assets from damage or misuse so they operate, as designed, to protect people, properties and livelihoods from flooding,” says von Dadelszen.

“I’d like to thank the people who engaged in the consultation process and those who made submissions.

"Submissions were received from across the region with the highest proportion being from the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Of the 43 submitters, 15 chose to present either in person, or via zoom, to the hearing held on August 26.”

The Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws 2020, together with a Responses to Submitters document will be available at www.boprc.govt.nz/drainagebylaw or can be viewed in hard copy in reception areas of Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices across the rohe from Monday, December 21.

Background:

What are flood protection assets?

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council looks after $370 million worth of flood protection assets. These include floodgates, pump stations and 352 kilometres of stopbanks, which are part of a flood protection system designed to help manage river flows and collectively work to minimise flood risks.

Council manages flood protection systems in five major river and drainage schemes:

  • Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme
  •   •  Waioeka-Otara Rivers Scheme

  •   •  Whakatāne-Tauranga Rivers Scheme

  •   •  Rangitāiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme

  •   •  Rangitāiki Drainage Scheme

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws applies to drains, pumping stations, defences against water, river edge protection works and floodways owned by Council.

Under the bylaws it is an offence to endanger these assets and landowners can be held liable for any damage.

Bylaw Applicable areas

This is a defined area within which you may need a bylaw authority to carry out certain activities that could potentially affect a council flood protection asset. The area differs for each of the river or drainage schemes and specific information is available on the project web page.

It is not Council’s intention to prohibit activity within the Bylaw Applicable Areas. These areas are identified in the Bylaws to indicate that certain activities may need ‘prior written authority’ before they are undertaken. The Bylaw Authority process enables the landowner/leasee to communicate with Council about the intended activities and discuss any mitigation measures needed given the proximity to a council flood protection asset.

What is a bylaw authority?

Anyone who wants to carry out certain activities in the vicinity of a flood protection asset must first apply for a bylaw authority. These activities include constructing or demolishing a structure; undertaking earthworks; planting or removing trees, hedges or shrubs; installing a culvert or crossing in a scheme drain; intensive development of farmland (e.g. for horticulture).

Council may issue bylaw authorities, often with specific conditions, to allow landowners to carry out these activities while minimising any impact on the flood protection assets.

How can I find out if the Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaws applies to me?

Email riversanddrains@boprc.govt.nz with ‘Does the FAD Bylaw apply to my property’ in the subject line and provide your full name, contact details (email and phone) and property address.

We will let you know if you are within a Flood Protection and Drainage applicable area and provide advice on applying for a bylaw authority if required.

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