Residents in the flood-prone part of Whanganui's Anzac Parade will be surveyed on how best to mitigate against future flood damage in the area.
A team of Massey University students is to visit households in what is the first move toward activating a fund collected as part of Horizons Regional Council rates. Each year $50,000 was collected.
There should now be about $150,000 available to raise, move or otherwise protect flood-prone houses, Horizons catchment operations committee chairman David Cotton said.
The committee met in Whanganui on March 11, in the Whanganui District Council chamber.
Horizons' river manager Ramon Strong said the survey of Anzac Pde residents will be done by Massey University PhD students, supervised by Professor Bruce Glavovic.
They will go to each of the approximately 100 houses in the area affected by 2015 flooding in the Whanganui River and Matarawa Stream.
Some houses had water through them, while others had their access cut off. The students will find out which houses are on concrete foundations and cannot be raised.
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They will ask residents what they want to do about their flood-prone situation. Raising and moving houses is possible, as is coating their exterior with a plastic paint that will exclude water.
Cotton talked to many of the residents himself three years ago. At that time some didn't want to make any changes, others wanted a better warning system, and others wanted the council to buy their property so they could move.
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That will not be an option, Cotton said, because there are too many flood-prone properties in the region.
"If we buy these houses, what do we do about Scotts Ferry and Whangaehu? It's got to be equitable."
Many of the houses were bought cheaply after the flood and are now rented out, he believes.
Councillors heard about the region's catchment groups from Roger Dalrymple, who started the first one in Rangitīkei, and Mark Chrystall, who has started one in Taihape.
"They wanted to show the six new councillors there's another way of achieving water quality outside regulation," Cotton said.
Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui Trust chairman Gerrard Albert also spoke, giving an overview of the Whanganui River's new status and management.
It was an opportunity for the council to reset its relationship with the river and trust, Cotton said. There was no need for people to fear the new iwi arrangements, Albert said, despite what "bottom feeders" were saying on social media.
"All they want to do is protect the interest of the river, for itself," Cotton said.
During the afternoon councillors toured Anzac Pde, Putiki and Heads Rd - all vulnerable to floods, and looked at the Whanganui port and repairs needed on the river moles. They also saw Gordon Park, and the Matarawa Stream diversions.