Cyclone Gabrielle left silt up to the roof of this Esk Valley house in February. Photo / Warren Buckland
The number of red-zoned Category 3 properties in Hawke’s Bay has been finalised at 287 properties.
The buyout process can begin by the end of this month for flood-stricken homeowners.
Today marked a major milestone in the region’s recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle, as Hawke’s Bay Regional Council officially finalised its list of Category 3 homes and properties.
The recovery now moves to the next stage of voluntary buyouts for unsafe Category 3 homes, led by Hastings and Napier councils, and expected to begin by the end of the month.
All Category 3 properties in Hawke’s Bay are in the Hastings and Napier districts and refer to flood-prone areas deemed to be no longer safe to live on with an unacceptable risk to life.
The milestone has drawn a mixed response from affected property owners – some of whom are unhappy with being locked into Category 3.
Pākōwhai couple Sue and Tim Averill had part of their property moved out of the provisional Category 3 list recently into Category 2C, upon review, and say it “means everything” to be able to return to their property.
However, Eskdale resident Dan Gale, who runs the Eskdale Holiday Park, remains in Category 3 and says he felt the review process to contest Category 3 provisional decisions was an “absolute shambles”.
“We are going to stay regardless. Our family view is we are not taking the buyout,” he said.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chair Hinewai Ormsby said bringing the land categorisation process to a close for affected property owners represented a big step in the recovery journey.
”The past several months have been extremely challenging for our flood-affected communities, and I am pleased that we are now able to provide certainty for the owners of a large number of properties so they can look to the future and make informed decisions about what to do with their properties.”
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said the coming weeks would be spent working towards buy-outs starting by the end of the month.
She said a buy-out office would be set up by October 24 with enough resources to support Category 3 property owners who want to consider a buy-out offer from their council.
A provisional Category 3 list was released on June 1, setting out flood-prone areas deemed to be no longer safe to live on with an unacceptable risk to life.
That list initially included 236 properties but rose to 330 properties. However, it has now been finalised at 287 properties across Hawke’s Bay. Property owners were invited to ask for a review if they wanted to challenge their Category 3 decisions.
A full breakdown of where all the 287 properties are has yet to be released. However, a map is available.
The buyout costs for Category 3 homes will be split 50:50 between the Government and those two councils.
Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Robertson has previously said: “We know that with climate change there will be more severe weather events like this” and a cost-sharing arrangement with councils would be “the basis for all future events of this type”.