Floodbank extended 15m at southern end

Permanent fix. . . Gore resident Alan Key is puzzled why it has taken so long after the 2020 flood to lift the level of Salford St beside the floodbank to stop future flooding of the Mataura River into the area. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The floodbank between Gore and the Mataura River has been extended 15m at its southern end.

Previously the floodbank ended before it intersected Salford St.

However, the floodbank now crosses Salford St, which has raised the level of the road about 600mm.

The work was a joint project between the Gore District Council and Environment Southland.

Gore District Council acting roading manager Murray Hasler said about 80cu m of gravel was added to the road to raise its level.

“It is not a huge thing, but it should be enough to eliminate the need to frantically get sandbags in place there when that flood is approaching.”

The road was slightly lower than the level of the original floodbank adjoining it, but is there “as a permanent fix”.

“It takes a worry off people’s minds.

“[The river] can’t flow over the road and down into the properties alongside the floodbank.

“It diverts it more towards the oxidation ponds.”

“We do apologise that it had taken a bit longer than we originally hoped.”

Resident Alan Key said he was puzzled at the length of time it had taken after the 2020 flood to raise the level of the stopbank.

After the flooding he had a meeting about the floodbank with Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks and senior staff.

“They made us a promise it was going to be done within six weeks,” Mr Key said.

There seemed to be money available to complete other projects in the town, he said.

“To me, wouldn’t you stop the water first before you spent all this money?”

Given the increase in flooding recently he believed improving the flood banks should have been a priority.

Mr Hicks said he appreciated Mr Key’s concerns.

“[I] am also disappointed it’s taken this long to have the work done.

“Nevertheless, it’s great to have this added protection for residents in south Gore should we experience another major flood.”

It would complement the significant stopbank upgrade programme Environment Southland has started on various rivers in the province, Mr Hicks said.

The Salford St work was not part of Environment Southland’s climate resilience project, for which it had received a $13.875 million Government shovel-ready grant.

Environment Southland integrated catchment manager general manager Paul Hulse said staff were in the process of analysing geotechnical data which had been gathered.

“This provides valuable below ground imaging of the stop bank materials and foundations and helps to assess the condition of the existing stop bank and identify any potential issues.

“We have also completed a hydrological model of the river, which can predict the water level against existing stop banks under flood conditions.”

Once the analysis was complete it would show which work needed to be given priority.