Anzac Parade conversations to flood resilience strategy

Published on July 13, 2020

Anzac Parade flood 2015

Horizons Regional Council Media Release

Horizons Regional Council is seeking to involve Whanganui residents and homeowners in the development of a flood risk reduction and community resilience strategy for Anzac Parade.

In June 2015 this area was significantly flooded, causing resident displacement as well as damage to infrastructure and around 100 houses.

With five years passing since the last major flood, Horizons river management group manager Ramon Strong says it is time to make progress in adapting to an increased frequency of large floods as a result of climate change.

“We are starting with Anzac Parade as a significantly affected area, both because of the number of homes at risk and also as it’s an important part of Whanganui. It is lined with beautiful trees and is home to Kōwhai Park, a much-loved feature of the place.”

The regional council has had previous conversations with the wider Whanganui community regarding a broad approach to risk management for all of the parts of the city exposed to river flooding.

“Starting with Anzac Parade makes sense as it has been seriously affected by flooding for generations,” says Mr Strong.

“It is critical we connect directly with homeowners and residents to understand their views and needs. We have to work in bite-sized chunks and so we will be engaging in other flood-prone, valued parts of Whanganui like Putiki and Taupo Quay later and look forward to inviting input to these projects when they commence.

“When it comes to Anzac Parade, we will be talking with the wider Whanganui community about options for its future.”

To do this engagement well, specialists from Massey University have been appointed to facilitate the formulation of the strategy. The project will be led by Massey’s Professor Bruce Glavovic and Dr. Martín García Cartagena who are experts in natural hazards planning, flood risk reduction and community resilience building.

Mr Strong says Whanganui iwi and Whanganui District Council are key partners in this process. There will be face-to-face interviews undertaken between July and December 2020, and opportunities for the public to have their say in the formulation of the strategy.

“Residents and landowners along low-lying areas of Anzac Parade will be receiving letters in the next week or so inviting them to be part of the process,” he says.

“While there is no obligation to be involved, we welcome input from as many residents and homeowners as possible to help ensure that the strategy developed is a robust and transparent one. The appointment of Massey University specialists is a good way of independently capturing resident, homeowner and community hopes and concerns about reducing flood risk and building resilience for the future.”

One of Horizons Whanganui councillors, Nicola Patrick, says she expects there to be a range of opinions from the community, residents and homeowners.

“I’m looking forward to hearing the range of views come through this engagement. We need to listen to locals who have direct experience and have been directly affected,” she says.

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall says he hopes that the majority of Anzac Parade residents and landowners take up the opportunity to take part in the project.

“This project will inform and influence the future of this area so I hope people are able to make time to share their views. Local experience and insight are vital,” he says.

“We are looking forward to progressing this with Horizons. Anzac Parade is such a unique and important part of Whanganui and the Council and residents have a key role in shaping its future.”