Kilbirnie flood prevention strategy triples in cost

Kilbirnie flood prevention strategy triples in cost

Wellington Water’s project director Ulvi Salayev, right, chief advisor for storm water Tim Strang and project manager Michelle Chew presented their $7 million plan to residents and councillors at a residents’ association meeting on Wednesday. PHOTO Callum Roberts

Flood protection in Kilbirnie could be revamped for more than $7 million – three times the original estimate.

Local councillor Sarah Free said the proposal’s price tag would be justified if it meant Kilbirnie could recover from a tsunami or extreme wet weather event.

A proposal from council-owned Wellington Water involved upgraded pipework under Bay Road and an additional hydraulic pump in Evans Bay park. These upgrades would mean reduced surface flooding in the area following a disaster.

The proposal was revealed for the first time to about 25 locals attending a Kilbrinie, Lyall Bay and Rongotai Residents’ Association meeting last month. The plan now requires approval from Wellington City Council.

The estimated cost of the revamp is $7.3m.  The council was told previously the project would cost about $2.1m.

While Wellington Water’s quote had come in higher than expected, resolving the issue of flooding was a high priority for the entire city, Councillor Sarah Free told the meeting. “This is a big, big problem for parts of Wellington.”

The decision to improve western Kilbirnie’s storm water catchment was made in 2015 between the council and Wellington Water.

Free said the plans also took longer than expected, but it was important to have extensively researched the logistics if Kilbirnie was to receive an investment in preventative infrastructure before other areas of the city.

“If we’re going to ask colleagues from other parts of Wellington, we need this level of detail.”

Chief advisor for storm water Tim Strang said  other places in Wellington were  being addressed but Wellington Water needed to further research workable options specific to each area. “We don’t have solutions ready to go there.”

Wellington Water has submitted its plan as a recommendation to the council and is awaiting approval before moving ahead.

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Article by Callum Roberts

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