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Silt Recovery Taskforce funding boost, work to continue into October

Omarunui Silt site 2

Central Government has provided the Silt Recovery Taskforce an additional $10 million of funding which will allow sediment and debris collection and management to continue into October.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair Hinewai Ormsby says that while more funding would still be needed it was a relief that the Taskforce could continue to work for another month, focused on landowners needing to plant and spray ahead of the growing season.

“We estimate this latest money will help us complete 50 jobs and move around 200,000m3 of sediment and debris during October. We currently have 223 jobs waiting to be completed and an estimated 1.2 million m3 of sediment and debris in the system waiting to be collected,” said Chair Ormsby.

“While we’re thankful to the Government for the additional funding to continue on for the next month, we’re disappointed we won’t be able to complete all of these jobs and that there will be people in the community left with sediment and debris on their property.”

Hastings District Council Deputy Mayor Tania Kerr said the limited funding would impact the community.

“With 43% of the 864 jobs we have received still requiring a response, there will be a lot of people in the community who need support but won’t be able to access it,” says Mrs Kerr.

“We will continue to lobby Government for more funding to help the community with cleaning up sediment and debris around the region.”

Silt Recovery Taskforce Lead Darren de Klerk said the Taskforce would focus on high priority jobs for October.

“Our team will be prioritising which jobs get completed because we know we can’t get to everyone. We will be focusing on jobs that were abandoned when we implemented the funding restriction and then moving onto other high priority jobs,” said Mr de Klerk.

“We need to implement a closing date for collection requests to be logged. We ask those affected and requiring a collection – even if they aren’t ready yet - to log a collection request with the Regional Council by Friday 6 October so we can prioritise which jobs get completed, and so we can continue to lobby Government for more funding with a full picture of the job ahead of us.”

“We are concerned for businesses receiving co-funding from the commercial fund for sediment and debris recovery that the Taskforce won’t be able to collect what they’ve cleaned up.”

“For jobs we won’t be able to get to, we are committed to engaging and supporting landowners to look for solutions,” adds Mr de Klerk.

The collection service is only for flood-affected properties impacted by sediment and debris, and slips are not included in this service. Landowners are encouraged to manage the material onsite if possible, and we can provide land advisors to support this.

The $10 million of funding is alongside the $137.2 million the Government has given the region for sediment, debris, and woody waste recovery for councils and commercial entities in Hawke's Bay.

Photo: Ōmarunui silt deposit site

26 September 2023

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