6 Jun 2014

Residents relieved flood help coming

10:00 am on 6 June 2014

Residents of a Christchurch suburb worst affected by flooding are expressing relief at news the city council is taking urgent action to fix the problem.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel on Thursday announced $17.5 million in flood-prevention measures that will be in place by the end of the year.

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Residents of suburbs like Flockton will now have some relief from flooding. Photo: RNZ / Nicola Grigg

The biggest and most expensive of the 16 projects is a $4.5 million pump station in the Flockton Basin area, the worst affected part of Christchurch where many have been forced out of their homes because of repeated damage from flooding.

Bryce McCutcheon, who has lived in the area for 44 years, said the news was welcome.

"It's a big move compared to what's been done here before, it's going to benefit an awful lot of people."

Mr McCutcheon's wife, Antoinette, said six households have left their street because of repeated flooding and she hopes some might now return.

One option still being explored by the council in conjunction with the government is a voluntary buy out scheme where those in the worst affected homes would be able to move on.

Another resident Pip Thurlow said fixing the problem rather than writing off the area in the same way the residential red zone was following the quakes, would be most peoples' preference.

Another short-term option that's still being explored is wrapping vulnerable homes in plastic to keep the water out.

Ms Thurlow said that seems like a costly option for a temporary solution.

Council land drainage manager Mike Gillooly said the pump station will make a big difference to a large number of houses in a short time.

He said around 129 properties would benefit and 214 further properties would have reduced risk of flooding.

Ms Dalziel hopes the government will agree to the council's request to make the earthquake temporary accommodation assistance available to those who have been forced to leave their properties since the flooding.

But Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the government needs to know the individual circumstances of the 56 worst affected households before it can help.

Work continues on long term solutions, including more pump stations and widening a creek in the Flockton Basin.