At the 2016 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.
Fulton Hogan Excellence Award for Community Engagement.
Highly Commended: Christchurch City Council’s ‘Dudley Creek: Long-term Flood Remediation Project’.
Christchurch City Council has been engaging with the community to develop a preferred approach to addressing flooding in Flockton.
The Canterbury earthquakes worsened flooding in many areas of the city and this was particularly evident during extreme rainfall events in 2014.
The Mayor’s Flood Taskforce was set up to look for short-term measures to protect areas vulnerable to flooding. However, a longer term solution was needed for the worst affected areas of Flockton / Dudley Creek.
Residents trying to recover from the earthquakes were facing flooding and unhealthy homes, and reporting increasing health problems, stress and financial challenges.
The council made the decision to address the increased flooding risk in the area as its first priority in its Land Drainage Programme.
Fourteen options had been initially identified as possibly offering long-term flood remediation benefits and these were eventually narrowed down to three.
Extensive community engagement – resulting in a high number of submissions – was carried out to work through these to find an outcome that worked best for all the people involved. This included two consultation processes with the council providing well-attended public drop-in sessions. Project team members met regularly with residents and kept them updated through an e-newsletter.
Ultimately, a preferred option was approved by the council with full support from the community. This is currently under construction and due for completion by mid-2017.
Judges praised the thorough consultation process, with the engagement strategy designed to involve members of a community under considerable stress. They also hailed the high level of engagement and the project’s “capacity to make significant improvement to the quality of life for the residents living in the Flockton area”.
This article was first published in the August 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.