Tauranga City Council has taken the first step in a $12-$16 million plan to combat storm flooding in Mount Maunganui North.
Councillors yesterday ticked off the route that the new flood relief pipeline would take and where it would empty into the harbour under the Port of Tauranga's wharf.
It follows years of periodic flooding of some areas in and around the central shops, neighbouring Mount commercial properties and residential areas further south.
Top priority for this summer was the outfall pipeline from the port boundary to the harbour edge so that the work did not clash with plans to extend Shed One and the kiwifruit export season from mid-March to October.
Stormwater programme leader Jane Groves said the redevelopment of the shed was next to the alignment of the pipeline. "There are limited opportunities to do these works, so we must grab it ... the priority is to secure the outlet."
She said it would allow the council to come back at a later date to hook into the outlet once the upstream work had been designed and programmed for the three flood-affected catchments in Mount North.
Councillors were told that engineers were looking at other flood priority areas around the city and they needed to weigh up Mount North against the other projects. She said they were expected to be in a position to make decisions early next year.
The route option chosen by the council allowed it to deliver on all three catchments at "the lower end of investment".
Funding would come from the stormwater bulk fund which had $8.2 million this year. It would grow by another $8.2 million next year after which it dropped to $6 million a year.
The focus so far for flood relief schemes in the city had been on land banking, with no decisions on construction budgets.
Councillor Leanne Brown asked when residents would have the comfort of knowing they would not have floodwater through their properties. She was told that the plans would be considered as part of the 2018 review of the 10-year plan.
Mayor Stuart Crosby said that the project would proceed, it was only a matter of timing.
Councillor Kelvin Clout said it made sense to do the outfall end of the pipeline now in order to work in with the port.
Councillor Steve Morris described Mount North as a bit like a bathtub and said it was a pragmatic decision.
Flood risk areas at Mount Maunganui North
CBD and high-rise: Commons Ave, Grace Ave, The Mall, Maunganui Rd in the vicinity of Mt Drury, the rear of Shadelands Lane.
Mount Commercial: Maunganui Rd by the roundabout, the vicinity of Coronation Park, Nikau Crescent, Rata St and Wallis Lane
Mount Residential: Much of Totara, Tawa, Matai, Miro and Puriri streets, numerous locations in upper catchment along Valley, Riverton and Campbell roads and Bain St.