The CBD’s response plan needs an immediate update according to property owners in the middle of town.
Wānaka CBD property owners’ group chair Roger Gardiner was critical of the council’s lack of impetus regarding the issue at a public forum last week. Gardiner referred to the floodwaters that inundated the foreshore last December saying it closed many businesses and that the QLDC had promised a debrief on the matter. QLDC had also promised an update on the flood response plan and an investigation into stormwater and sewerage infrastructure.
“QLDC infrastructure personnel have basically been missing in action is our view,” he said.
Gardiner said the closure of the CBD gave the impression the whole town was shut down and caused business losses in excess of $100,000.
He continued by saying that although Otago civil defence and emergency management staff had begun post-flood discussions, they were unable to take on flood mitigation.
“That’s the responsibility of the council,” he said.
“I suggest if businesses had been closed as a result of flooding in the Queenstown waterfront there would have been action taken by now and I think the council has dropped the ball in terms of following that up,” Gardiner said.
“We need to look for a better way to reduce the impact of the floods.”
Gardiner said discussions about reviewing the sandbagging protocols to keep the water from reaching the shops, ensuring the water pumps were up to the task, and using non-return valves on the sewerage system could keep the town centre open.
“We’d like to see the council do its utmost to ensure the CBD continues to operate as best it can and avoid business closures.”
Gardiner said his group asked that the QLDC does a flood response debrief; allocates staff to undergo research into improving infrastructure to mitigate the impact of floods, and commits to a timetable to get the work done.
Read edition 996 of the Wānaka Sun here.