Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Nearly $1m going to flood measures

A Waihi Beach holiday park owner is optimistic he may again be able to get flooding insurance thanks to a council commitment to spend almost $1 million improving the stormwater system during the next year.

Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park owner Ian Smith was told on Friday his insurance company would no longer cover the property for flooding but a decision to fix the stormwater culvert that had caused major floods could change that.

At a Western Bay of Plenty District Council annual plan sub-committee meeting yesterday, $926,000 was earmarked for initial work to lessen the flood risk during the coming financial year.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor Ross Paterson said the improvements would include replacing two small stormwater culverts on Beach Rd with one large box culvert. Land levels along The Esplanade would also be re-graded to improve stormwater run-off and a pumped drainage system would be installed on Otto Rd.

Money left over from this year's roading and reserves budgets would cover $330,000 of the work. The stormwater budget would be put $596,000 in debt to cover the remaining costs, he said.

Mr Smith said the major reason his insurance company refused to continue to cover his business for flooding was because of the culvert on Beach Rd outside the holiday park which blocked again in April causing 67 guests to be evacuated as water reached 1m in parts of the camp ground.

The cost of flooding in April was not yet clear but Mr Smith estimated it would be between $50,000 and $60,000. Flooding last year cost him about $140,000.

Mr Smith was thrilled the drain was at the top of the list and he hoped that once it was fixed the insurance company would reconsider its decision.

"It's really good seeing that they are making a proactive move and seeing that they are doing something in the immediate future," Mr Smith said.

Mr Paterson said despite the initial improvements flooding would continue to be an issue for some Waihi Beach residents.

"We realise with stormwater with Waihi Beach it's not a quick fix. There will still be homes flooded because it's a flood hazard area," he said.

The council would continue to work with residents on future plans to fix the area's stormwater problem which would become policy in next year's annual plan, Mr Paterson said. Discussions with landowners whose properties front on to Two Mile Creek would also continue.

A temporary policy had been put in place to allow for emergency measures to be undertaken should further erosion threaten homes.

Resource consents for work on the creek had already been applied for so work could begin as soon as a solution was agreed upon, he said.

The council also agreed on another small rates increase that would see the total rate take move from 5.07 per cent to 5.2 per cent for the next financial year.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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