BOP residents face rates hike to pay for flood damage

Bay of Plenty flood victims could face rate hikes of up to 25 percent to pay for damage caused by Cyclone Debbie.

Houses on College Road that were devastated by the flood lie broken and abandoned. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chair Doug Leeder said 80 percent of the $50 million repair bill had come from ratepayers so a rates increase of about 25 percent in flood-hit areas was necessary to pay for the remainder.

“Now we have to have a discussion with the community as to how that is managed and do they take it in one hit or spread it over the years into the future.”

About 1600 people were evacuated when a stop bank on the Rangitaiki River at Edgecumbe breached during the ex-cyclone last April causing the destruction of 15 homes and extensive damage to the town.

The repair work involves rebuilding and strengthening some stop banks and a planned flood water diversion canal.

Mr Leeder said putting off the work ran the risk of another adverse event adding to the cost.

Edgecumbe was worst hit by the flooding and its community board chair said a rates hike was not fair.

Charelle Stevenson believed the cost should be spread across the whole region.

“We live in a flood plain and we want to make sure that we are safe and that we are protected from flood events.”