A total of $1.2 million will be spent on repairing and rebuilding the largest Makara Valley flood detention dam in Central Hawke's Bay, after a sinkhole was found during a regular inspection last year.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council rubber stamped the decision yesterday to spend the money after a lengthy hearing with the Elsthorpe and Makara communities earlier this year, to review the problems and solutions around the dam.
Since the discovery of the sinkhole in the No 1 Dam in Kokatewai Rd, off Kairakau Rd there had been extensive investigations and discussions about the best course of action.
The council agreed with the hearing panel's recommendation to rebuild the No 1 dam, replacing the culvert and undertaking a desilting programme.
The work was estimated to cost $1.2 million. More than half would be funded through the Regional Disaster Reserve, with the rest funded through the scheme disaster reserve and depreciation reserve, as well as a loan on the scheme.
The work would mean an increase in the rates from properties protected by the scheme.
Councillor Tim Gilbertson, whose constituency includes the Elsthorpe/Makara communities, said people were unhappy with the time it had taken the council to address the problem.
"There is a lot of bridge building and fence mending to be done between the council and the community.
"They have lost confidence in this council, in this particular situation.
"They want to be involved in any further solutions, they are concerned the $1.2 million cost will go up to $1.7 million."
Councillor Neil Kirton said the community had "got a good deal" out of the hearing and the council's decision.
"We are are in the business of representing the needs of the community and we have to bend over backwards sometimes.
"This outcome is certainly that, the council has bent over to get a solution which is way outside criterion guidelines, so much so, forcing a complete redraft in terms of using general ratepayer money to support a few constituents in one part of the region."
Cr Kirton said ratepayers would fund the project "to the tune of" $750,000.
Chairman of the hearing panel Christine Scott said the scheme would be improved with a dam of higher specifications and a longer lasting culvert.
The council would complete final design work for the dam.
Five Makara and Atua Valley dams were constructed in the early 1980s to protect against floods.
The dams were prompted after a series of severe floods in the 1970s.
Landowners asked the Hawke's Bay Catchment Board (now regional council) to investigate flood control and erosion in the catchment.
A flood detention dam was constructed across a valley to temporarily hold excess flood water in a specific ponding area.
In normal weather conditions the dam is empty, with in-flowing water exiting through a pipe in the face of the dam.
During storm events the capacity of the pipe is exceeded and water builds up or "ponds" behind the dam.