The voluntary buy-out of Category 3 residential properties across Hawke’s Bay is set to commence by the end of the month, with 287 properties across Hastings and Napier confirmed as Category 3.
An extraordinary amount of technical work, property-by-property, had to be undertaken to establish the future status of cyclone damaged homes, involving all HB councils, outside consultants and valuers. Community-by-community consultation was undertaken as part of the process as well.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Chief Executive, Dr Nic Peet, says following the Government’s release of the initial risk categories in early May, Regional Council developed both a process and a technical framework to look at the future risk to life at affected properties.
“From the outset, Government made it clear that the process of applying its risk categories across affected communities is the responsibility of local government.
“This piece of work has been a top priority for both Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the other four local Councils our teams have been working closely alongside.”
And of course a deal needed to be struck between our councils and Government as to the funding of any buyouts. The agreement reached provides for 50/50 cost sharing, with up to $92.5 million from central government.
With properties now confirmed as Category 3, Hastings District and Napier City Council can continue to progress the roll out of their Category 3 Voluntary Buy-out Policy for eligible property owners.
Hastings has 265 Category 3 residential properties and Napier has 22.
Said Mayor Kirsten Wise: “Between now and the end of the month, Napier City Council and Hastings District Council will continue to work together to ensure we’re fully prepared to commence implementation of our recently adopted Category 3 Voluntary Buy-Out Policy.
“This includes establishing a dedicated Voluntary Buy-Out Office, which we expect to be in place by Tuesday, 24 October, and ensuring it has the resources required to support those Category 3 property owners who wish to consider a voluntary buy-out offer from their respective Council.”
The time required to reach this point reflects the huge extent of damage to investigate, the need for unprecedented review and consultation processes to be established, determine whether future flood mitigation measures were likely, and the technical information required.
Really tough job … well done councils. And probably a contribution to the entire country as increasing climate-related events like this are expected in our future.
However, meantime, the National Party, grasping for relevance in the matter, has uselessly chimed in with its plan to appoint an ombudsman to better fix the situation. Uh-huh.
There are also 1,040 properties provisionally in different Category 2 groups, most of these in Wairoa (667) and CHB (135). In these cases, in order to minimise even more disruption to residents, work must be done to confirm whether flood mitigation measures might be workable that would avoid the need for relocation.
HBRC chair Dr Nic Peet said about these: “I acknowledge that for some communities, the uncertainty is ongoing. I can assure those people we are working as quickly as we can to progress the work in this space.
“Our technical experts continue to work closely with external consultants to investigate and analyse potential flood mitigation solutions, and we plan to engage directly with each provisionally categorised 2A, 2P and 2C community to seek feedback on these solutions as soon as possible.”