Media release

Media Release: Public feedback on flood protection changes to be heard

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Public submissions on proposed changes to rules which help minimise the risk and impact of flooding in Otago will be heard this week, as part of an Otago Regional Council (ORC) bylaw review.

ORC recently sought feedback from the public on proposed amendments to the Flood Protection Management Bylaw 2012. Consultation closed on 2 May.

The Bylaw protects important assets – for example floodbanks - which help protect people and property from the full effects of floods. It controls the type of activities that can be carried out near these important assets, and outlines when people need to speak with ORC, and gain prior ‘written permission’.

Around 1600 properties in Otago have these assets on or near them. Flood protection assets include over 200km of floodbanks, 12 pumping stations, 55 bridges, culverts and various other assets.

A Hearings Panel has been appointed by the ORC to consider the submissions and advice from Council staff, with a hearing planned for Friday 13 May.

The Hearings Panel will listen to people who want to speak to their submissions during the hearing, which starts at 9:30am. Following the hearing, the Panel will make recommendations about the draft Bylaw to the full Council on 22 June 2022. 

ORC Commercial and Regulatory Lead (Engineering) Alison Weaver said there were 25 submissions received on the proposed amendments.

“Some were supportive of all changes we have proposed, while others opposed aspects of the draft Bylaw and made suggested changes. These included targeting rates, changes to specific locations, planting and public access, on flood banks,” she said. 

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to make a submission. Council staff have read and considered these, and have made comments for the Hearings Panel to consider.”

The hearings agenda, including a list of submitters and copies of the submissions is available here and online on our Your Say website.

Hard copies can be made available for viewing at Otago Regional Council offices at Phillip Laing House, Level 2, 144 Rattray Street, Dunedin.

Members of the public can watch the hearing online here on Friday 13 May from 9:30am to 3:00pm.


Background - about the Bylaw and proposed amendments

Otago Regional Council (ORC) provides flood protection and land drainage across around thousands of acres of rural and urban land in Otago.

The Flood Protection Management Bylaw 2012 is the regulation that safeguards flood protection and land drainage assets owned or managed by ORC.

The Bylaw protects important assets that shield people, property, and livelihoods from experiencing the full effects of flood events. It controls the type of activities that can be carried out near these important assets, and outlines when people need to speak with ORC, and gain ‘written permission’ to do works.

Regional Council is required to review the Bylaw every 10 years under the Local Government Act 2002.

Proposed amendments include changes to requirements around the planting, growing or removal of vegetation in specific areas that are near ‘defences against water’ (such as floodbanks, spillways or groynes), and amends a range of definitions to support changes in the Proposed Bylaw.  

Further information about the Bylaw and process is available on our Your Say website.