Resilience to disaster events and climate change takes priority in Wellington’s ten-year budget

26 February 2018

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says there will be an unprecedented level of investment in resilience initiatives over the next 10 years.

Island Bay seawall content

Upgraded Island Bay seawall

“We must do all we can to ensure the city is ready for events like the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, as well as the threats of climate change and sea-level rise,” he says.

“Last July slips closed roads in Ngaio and Ngauranga Gorge, and we’ve narrowly escaped Hurricane Gita recently. As a city we need to be ready to face these adverse events to minimise disruption to the everyday lives of Wellingtonians, and allow the city to bounce back as soon as possible.”

The Mayor says that in any emergency situation, there needs to be certainty about what’s happening with water – drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.

The capital spend on resilience in the city is expected to sit around the $280 million mark and will form part of the debate in the Council’s draft Ten Year Plan deliberations next week.

A $32 million programme of capital funding work to complete the Prince of Wales/Omāroro Reservoir work over ten years is one of several key projects Wellingtonians can expect to see when the Council’s draft ten-year budget is released at the end of this week.

A further $6.2 million is allocated in the proposed plan to upgrade parts of the central city wastewater network to accommodate growth and improve resilience.

“Our suburbs are also tagged for stormwater upgrades, including $9 million for flood-prone areas of Tawa and a further $10 million to upgrade the Miramar Peninsula.”

An additional $300,000 of capital funding has been allocated to carry out coastal erosion repairs at Worser Bay, Seatoun Beach and Evans Bay.

“Being a coastal city means Wellington is the first cab off the rank for the effects of sea-level rise, so we have to act now.”

Wellington City Council will also assume responsibility for the cost of repairs of lateral pipes at a cost of $250,000 per annum.

Resilience Portfolio holder Councillor Iona Pannett says waste will be another priority. “There is a commitment to reducing casual plastic use like shopping bags, having a discussion around the rationalisation of landfills in the region, and starting to move the landfill to a resource recovery centre,” she says.

Other proposed upgrades include building strengthening, provision for storm clean-ups, and transport infrastructure improvements to Ngaio Gorge, Seatoun Tunnel, Northland Tunnel and the Kelburn Viaduct.

The draft Ten Year Plan document will be discussed by the Council on 7 March, and formal consultation will begin on 15 April.