8 Oct 2015

Tidal barrier plan may be canned due to $350m cost

5:08 pm on 8 October 2015

A proposal for a tidal barrier on the Avon-Heathcote estuary may not go ahead, after exploration into the plan found it would cost up to $350 million to build.

The Christchurch City Council has been in the early stages of exploring a potential tidal barrier as one possible option for reducing the flood risk in low-lying parts of south-east Christchurch.

Some parts of Christchurch dropped during the Canterbury earthquakes and some of these areas are now more vulnerable to flooding and a tidal barrier was being considered as an option to mitigate those risks.

However following mixed feedback from strategic partners and key organisations was considered at today's meeting of the council's Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee, councillors recommended against proceeding to the full feasibility assessment stage for a tidal barrier.

Committee chairperson Phil Clearwater said the tidal barrier was not a silver bullet for solving flooding issues.

He said overall, stakeholders did not strongly support the tidal barrier project and the committee believed a better approach was to look at the full range of alternative solutions as part of a city-wide flood management strategy.

The study found a tidal barrier was technically possible, but would cost up to $350 million to build, have major impact on the estuary environment and not remove the need for other additional defences against flooding.

The council is expected to make a decision at its next meeting later this month.