Some Edgecumbe families forced out of their homes by floods will be offered temporary cabins in their own yards while their damaged houses are repaired.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, who is charged with the Edgecumbe response, and Building Minister Nick Smith announced today about 30 temporary homes would be moved onto people's own properties where possible or the Whakatane Holiday Park where a 'temporary village' would be up and running next month.
It is a joint measure with the Whakatane District Council, which will share the cost of the project.
Tolley said more than 250 homes were damaged when the Rangitaiki River burst its banks in April and there had been more than 90 registrations from people who needed help to find temporary accommodation.
Smith said the temporary cabins would be put next to people's own homes where it was possible. Tolley and Smith visited the first of the homes to go in, a property on Rata Street for homeowners who wanted to stay on their own land.
Smith said putting the homes in Edgecumbe would allow people to stay connected to their communities.
It would supplement other accommodation, such as holiday homes and social housing for those flooded out.
Tolley said clean up crews employed under a $500,000 grant to Enhanced Taskforce Green had also started work this week. More than 2800 Civil Defence payments totalling $722,000 had been given out to help with food, clothing and bedding.
Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne said the council would contribute $850,000 toward the cost.
"Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith has acted decisively to ensure that this joint venture project is put in place as quickly as possible, so that we can ensure that people displaced from flood-damaged houses will have access to good quality, temporary accommodation while their homes are replaced or repaired.
"That's hugely encouraging news for flood-affected communities like Edgecumbe and also for our district's economy, because the relocatable house park created will be available in the future to cater for the growing tourism accommodation demand in Whakatane."
Bonne said an extraordinary meeting of the council on May 18 approved recommendations that the south-eastern section of the holiday park be allocated for use as a Relocatable House Park and that temporary residents be allowed to stay in the units beyond the four-week, summer season limit set-out in legislation.
The council also agreed to loan-fund the purchase of the self-contained, relocatable units required.
"Taking into account depreciation and debt servicing costs over the next 10 years and the expected offset of rental income, the total financial impact on ratepayers is expected to be less than $35,000.
"That equates to an annual rate increase across the district of just 0.08 per cent and given the short and long-term benefits this will deliver for our communities, it truly is a no-brainer."