Homes in the North Shore suburb of Hillcrest will be at less risk of flooding this coming winter thanks to an essential project to widen Hillcrest Creek.
The project, which began in February, involves widening 260m of the creek and building another culvert under Hillcrest Avenue.
The work will help to ensure more than 100 homes in the area are safer during big weather and flooding events.
The work will also allow for future development as part of the regeneration of the Northcote area, including the Northcote Special Housing Area.
Trees removed, replacements offered
Auckland Council has sought access to 12 private properties and offered compensation to affected landowners who neighbour the creek.
The work involves some trees being removed from the creek bank, including two kauri from one of the impacted properties. Kauri dieback protocols have been put in place for the site and carefully checked by the council’s kauri dieback experts.
“While it is unfortunate that we have to remove these trees, we are offering landowners advice and suitable replacement trees to plant on their properties once the works are complete,” Auckland Council’s Manager Stormwater, Craig McIlroy, says.
“As we upgrade stormwater systems around the region, we want to ensure that we are replacing native trees and enhancing these projects as much as we can.”
Mr McIlroy says the project has been in the planning stages since 2010 and a number of options to remove the flooding hazard were considered. The project was granted resource consent by independent commissioners in 2013, who considered the land use issues, including the removal of vegetation.
Least disruptive option
The matter was also considered under the Local Government Act by the council’s Hearings Committee, which considered all options and determined the work should proceed.
“We looked at a number of options to increase the creek’s capacity, including deepening the channel and an alternative pipeline alignment,” says Mr McIlroy.
“The final design to widen the creek is the most cost effective and least disruptive to the surrounding area and properties, and carries the fewest construction risks.
“We are grateful to the landowners for their support while construction is underway."
Work on the site, however, was halted for a week following an incident earlier this month that resulted in a man falling into the creek. He remains in hospital in a stable condition. Police and Worksafe are investigating the incident and Worksafe has declared the site safe to recommence works.
What is the council doing?
Widening 260m of Hillcrest Creek to increase its stormwater capacity.
Why are we doing it?
To reduce the risk of flooding to 117 households and parts of Northcote where future development is proposed.
When are we doing it?
Construction began in February 2016. The completion is scheduled for June 2016.
Are property owners affected?
Properties neighbouring the creek are affected. Auckland Council began consultation with neighbours in 2010, and a resource consent for the work was notified and granted in 2013. Affected property owners have been offered compensation.
What about the kauri and oak trees?
It is unfortunate that the council needs to remove native trees to enable this essential safety work to proceed. We would like to offer appropriate native replacement planting to the land owners, along with advice from the council’s biodiversity experts to help establish which trees would be most suitable for their properties.
Auckland Council will aim to develop this approach on an ongoing basis whenever stormwater infrastructure work impacts significant native trees on private properties.
Kauri dieback protocols are in place for the site.