Published: 3 October 2023
The voluntary buy-out of Category 3 residential properties across Hawke’s Bay is set to commence by the end of the month after 287 properties across Hastings and Napier were confirmed as Category 3 earlier today, marking a significant milestone in Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s land categorisation process.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby, says completing the risk assessment and bringing the land categorisation process to a close for these property owners represents a big step forward in the recovery journey.
“There is no doubt 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.”
Hawke’s Bay Regional Chief Executive, Dr Nic Peet, says following the Government’s release of the initial risk categories in early May, Regional Council developed both a process and a technical framework to look at the future risk to life at affected properties.
“From the outset, Government made it clear that the process of applying its risk categories across affected communities is the responsibility of local government.
“This piece of work has been a top priority for both Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the other four local Councils our teams have been working closely alongside.”
Whilst working through the process as quickly as possible, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has been extensively guided by both its own technical experts as well as the advice of independent consultants.
Reviewing and taking into consideration information received from local communities has also played a key role in reaching these decisions around future risk to life in areas across the region.
Dr Peet says whilst this brings the land categorisation process to a close for many, there is still work to be done in provisional Category 2 areas.
“I acknowledge that for some communities, the uncertainty is ongoing. I can assure those people we are working as quickly as we can to progress the work in this space.
“Our technical experts continue to work closely with external consultants to investigate and analyse potential flood mitigation solutions, and we plan to engage directly with each provisionally categorised 2A, 2P and 2C community to seek feedback on these solutions as soon as possible.”
With properties now confirmed as Category 3, Hastings District and Napier City Council can continue to progress the roll out of their Category 3 Voluntary Buy-out Policy for eligible property owners.
Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst, says having a voluntary buy-out programme in place is critical for empowering those most impacted by the cyclone to move on with their lives.
“Not only does the voluntary buy-out process enable our most severely impacted people to make fully informed decisions, it also provides them greater certainty about their future and a way to move on with their lives following the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.”
Kirsten Wise, Napier Mayor, says the coming weeks will be spent progressing the steps required to enable buy-outs to commence by the end of October.
“Between now and the end of the month, Napier City Council and Hastings District Council will continue to work together to ensure we’re fully prepared to commence implementation of our recently adopted Category 3 Voluntary Buy-Out Policy.
“This includes establishing a dedicated Voluntary Buy-Out Office, which we expect to be in place by Tuesday, 24 October, and ensuring it has the resources required to support those Category 3 property owners who wish to consider a voluntary buy-out offer from their respective Council.”
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