Tauranga City Council will not be making any moves in the future to protect homes and property from flooding - unless someone's safety is at risk.
At last week's draft Long Term Plan deliberations, the council adopted a long term approach to dealing with flooding and stormwater issues within the existing developed areas of the city, subject to consultation.
The elected members voted to adopt a "safety to persons focused level of service" - instead of contributing funds to protect property or buildings, the focus will be on keeping city residents safe in the event of a flood.
A report prepared by council staff said the costs of delivering infrastructure above the current level of service could not be justified when factoring in future rates rises, operational costs and debt requirements to deliver high level of service options.
The staff report outlined that implementing a high level of service that would reduce potential flood damage to homes, as well as reducing risk to people's safety, in a 100-year flood was estimated to cost $375 million and would take 37.5 years.
Under the adopted plan, the council will provide flooding information and technical advice to aid in risk reduction, improve infrastructure to reduce the risk to people's safety on private property, build a fund to aid in responding to future flooding and strengthen development regulations to ensure there will be no flooding hazards to future builds in heavy rain.
There will be no provision for reducing the risk of damage to buildings, vehicles or contents, or business disruption costs.
The three catchment areas in Tauranga assessed to have a "safety to persons" risk are Matua Peninsula and selected properties within Mount Maunganui and Waimapu, and this is where all remedial work will be focused within the next three years.
Report author Campbell Larking, integrated stormwater project manager, told the councillors these three catchment areas were where funding should be focused, as this is where the greatest risk was present.
As part of the approach, Mr Larking said the council would need to continue to provide advice to all flood affected landowners to help them understand the risks, then help identify ways the owners can reduce the risk to their properties.
Councillor Matt Cowley was the only elected member to vote against the proposal as he said current planning did not take into account changing climate conditions.
Cr Steve Morris said a city-wide approach to dealing with flooding was what the council wanted and this policy provided them with this.
Mayor Stuart Crosby said this approach was not "piecemeal".