Getting compensation for landowners who will be flooded in and around the Taonui Basin is a little closer.
Since 2009 Horizons Regional Council has been in discussions with landowners about how best to protect properties that will suffer flooding because of upgrades on the Lower Manawatu Scheme to protect others from flooding.
Horizons is seeking consent to complete works that will mitigate flood effects on landowners near the Taonui Basin, east of Foxton. In doing this properties that would not have flooded before the work will now be affected and those that did flood will have deeper water for longer on their properties.
"To protect more we have to flood a few," said Horizons senior river engineer Graham Doull.
The council could go ahead with the works whether landowners agreed or not as part of the Public Works Act, but this was a last resort, he said.
"We would rather do it by agreement and we are almost there."
The basin has traditionally been used to contain floodwaters during major floods; however, the work now planned would increase the ponding area by about 460 hectares around the fringe.
Horizons started a consent process to begin the work in 2009 but was sent back to the drawing board by the consent hearing's commissioners to come up with more information, consult with affected landowners further and devise a suitable compensation plan for loss of production and property values.
Lengthy negotiations have taken place with landowners to get agreements to go ahead with works.
Horizons has engaged a resource economist to assess costs of damage that can't be mitigated. "And what those adverse effects mean in dollars so a decision can be made on compensation," Mr Doull said.
The council intends to build two new stopbanks to protect five properties.
"It's cheaper to do that," said Mr Doull. "Some people think it might be special treatment but it's a matter of finances."
Group manager of operations Allan Cook said the key issue was that the flood protection upgrade for the Lower Manawatu Scheme would result in substantial and regular benefits for everyone on the Manawatu flood plain.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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