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First edition of Central Hawke’s Bay cyclone locality recovery plan published

Elsthorpe Town Hall 2

5 May 2023

The first edition of Central Hawke's Bay's Cyclone Gabrielle locality recovery plan has been published today, following a series of Community Conversations across nine parts of the district last month.

The locality plan focuses on the immediate and short-term needs of the community between now and September 2023, after the flooding and damage caused to the district’s communities, economy, roads, infrastructure and natural landscape.

This locality plan is the key mechanism for participating in the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency and the regional recovery plan that will be built to work with Government on resourcing and coordinated delivery.

“Thanks to the nine community conversations we had across the localities last month, online survey results and other discussions, we have the beginnings of a strong locality plan to represent our needs,” says Mayor Alex Walker.

“We appreciate everyone who took the time to share their knowledge and experiences with us. We know that our recovery plan, response and actions must be mapped out by the communities that know their needs best. Local, local, local is definitely part of the mantra.

“There is more work to do so we will be back out in the same communities over the next month or so to prioritise the next steps of the plan while we continue to fix all the damage we can across our district,” Mayor Walker says.

During April, meetings were held in Otāne, Tikokino, Elsthorpe, Omakere, Waipawa, Waipukurau, Pōrangahau, Takapau and Wallingford, and nearly two hundred residents completed an online survey.

Mayor Alex Walker said the consultation provided clear direction from each of the areas about what they want Council, partners and communities to focus on to recover and build better resilience.

“We’ve heard our communities are concerned about health and wellbeing, that our rural farming backbone is vital to our identity, our economy, and our resilience, that we all need to work more closely with the environment, and that we must empower and listen to local voices as we look to recover, reimagine, and rebuild," she said.

Priorities identified in the plan include taking actions to mitigate flood risk by removing river gravel, improving stopbanks and developing better stormwater networks, assessing early warning and monitoring systems, planning across all communities to support community-led preparedness to emergencies, getting our rural communities and farming businesses mobile and re-connected again by road, and thinking ahead to how and where homes and businesses are built in the future.

“Some of this we can do but we can’t do everything, so we need to seek funding support and make big choices as a district and a region on how we prioritise.”

Mayor Walker said immediate actions were already underway, which included continuing to fix and improve major roads and bridges destroyed by the cyclone and remaining focused on support options for families trying to rebuild, local businesses and also building more detailed community plans.

“We want to remind people of the support we do have available now. This includes financial and urgent welfare, such as the Central Hawke’s Bay Council Mayoral Relief Fund and the Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Fund. We encourage anyone who needs support to please reach out and contact our team 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 06 857 8060. You don’t have to do this alone.”

With the first edition complete, the Council is starting to plan a second round of Community Conversations in the next month. This will help to inform a second plan, to be submitted in September, which will be based on further consultation and prepared with input from partners and those most affected by the floods as well as wider communities.

A copy of the plan can be found here.

The Council welcomes feedback and any time and will be sending out regular updates over the coming months about how people can participate in the consultation via email, on the website and by Facebook. To give feedback or to sign up for updates email or call 06 857 8060.

8 May 2023

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