Done to by repeated earthquakes, storms and flood since 2010, threatened Christchurch home owners must avoid becoming political footballs in 2014, now. The silly season of public discourse is upon us, with the lack of real choice in general elections.

Already we have seen the pointless, predictable lurch between non-solutions twice: legal synthetic cannabis was made illegal with no means of transition for its victims; and our city council’s consultant’s report on its finances will next be matched by the Earthquake Minister’s – why didn’t the Mayor just save rate and tax payers this profligate expense? We already knew the parlous situation we are working through so why add to it by overpaying ‘experts’ just to state the obvious? For argument’s sake? As of today we’re being sold the pretend choice of who will be delivering tax cuts, from fake Beehive budget surplus, come September.

Descent into ‘he said, she said’ along National-Labour lines does not help struggling Christchurch and Canterbury one bit. With central and local government arguing over who must respond to the recent flood losses and realisations, affected communities must just get on with it.

Council’s Flooding Taskforce report is a good start in a concentrated timeframe, if only for highlighting what must follow it.[1] Immediate, simple steps are identified but mostly it’s the mapping that helps us.

District Plan change forecasts for 100-year sea level rise, in the range of climate change symptoms, were released updated in March. Already Christchurch is having to adapt to significant aqueous effects. This is our loud wake-up call.

Working against centralised solutions is the sheer scale of the problem. But now at least we can see it plain:

Christchurch Flooding Map 2014 - CCC Taskforce

Christchurch Flooding Map 2014 – CCC Taskforce


Since the earthquakes, communities have pulled together to get through each crisis. Now moving forward means getting more organised.

The Christchurch City Council’s Flooding Taskforce was a good start but now needs breaking down into manageable chunks and catchments. Each particular area needs to initiate its own flood taskforce – Dudley Creek / Flockton, Lower Avon, Southshore, Sumner, Heathcote Valley, Woolston and Lower Heathcote, Upper Heathcote (or Heathcote-Opawaho as a very large whole), Lyttelton, Little River, Akaroa, Kaiapoi, etc. Invite the authorities to advise your local area taskforce, once it is set up. Start with your own stretch of street and look towards contributing to catchment management, in the long term.

Communities must take this initiative for a number of reasons: you are best placed to respond to the next natural event; central resources are inadequate and stretched far too thin; discuss and decide what remedies you collectively judge appropriate for your area – river dredging, bank widening and embankment, floor raising, section walling or buy-out, etc. – because this locally agreed message is what the authorities need to hear; gain detailed knowledge of street property effects together but protect the values and information – supply the authorities with accurate statistics only, through your own elected spokespeople; “information is power” – your power, it is said.

The severe limitation of Mayor Dalziel’s report, in summary: “The extreme rainfall event on 4/5 March 2014 was not regular flooding and requires longer term solutions. It was therefore considered outside the scope of the Taskforce.”[3] And no spend for Southshore.

Locally, get your picture and voice crystal clear. Then it can be expressed most usefully to the powers that be, for action.

In the meantime, if there’s flooding tomorrow and you need help dealing with it, call Council on 941-8999 or lodge a Service Request online.[4] But do start talking to your neighbours about urgent response today.[5]

Update 22 May 2014:
Flood victims told they need to resolve problems themselves (3′ 10″) RadioNZ Morning Report
“At the first of the Christchurch City Council’s community meetings to look at flooding issues, residents on the Banks Peninsula have been told it is up to them to solve their own problems.”[6]

[1] http://www.ccc.govt.nz/cityleisure/projectstoimprovechristchurch/landdrainage/taskforce.aspx

[2] http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/southern/9961861/Fed-up-Heathcote-residents-want-action

[3] p.6. @ http://www.ccc.govt.nz/floodmitigation first draft: http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/CityLeisure/projectstoimprovechristchurch/landdrainage/FloodingTaskforceTechnicalReportCompressed.pdf

[4] http://www.ccc.govt.nz/homeliving/makeaqueryorreportaproblem/index.aspx

[5] CANTERBURY’S FLOOD AFFECTED RESIDENTS – https://www.facebook.com/groups/435162109919930/440052116097596/

[6] http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2596857/flood-victims-told-they-need-to-resolve-problems-themselves

More:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/10000094/Secretly-wanting-to-give-up-on-Chch “sold up, cashed up and ready to go.. a functioning metropolitan city will arise again too late.. We, and what was, are over.. The floods this year are finishing off hope amongst the wounded of our city.” – Greg Jackson 02/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10006722/Mayor-Cross-agency-flood-solution-needed 04/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10008102/River-debris-cleared-in-flooding-cleanup “Mayor Lianne Dalziel said that one option being considered was buying out properties in flood-affected areas.. It’s clear people want to stay.. if they can” 05/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10029993/Labour-calls-for-flood-relief-urgency 10/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10035287/Flooding-protection-could-cost-13-6m +
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10034373/Government-holding-back-on-quake-costs 12/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10036716/Flood-prone-residents-face-long-winter 13/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/10054364/High-Court-ruling-a-blow-for-residents Port Hills rockfall risks 17/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/editorials/10057855/Editorial-Flooding-data-gets-swamped “the problem seems to be even worse than the council understood” Press Editorial 19/05/2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/10065978/Mayor-wants-help-for-flood-prone-right-now 21/05/2014

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