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Short-term fix: A loader on the Rees Delta works on aligning the Rees River channel towards the western side of the delta

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

While Otago Regional Council’s started ‘‘flood resilience’’ work in Glenorchy, the town’s community association chair says there’s more to be done.

ORC’s carrying out vegetation clearance and channel realignment to improve drainage from Lagoon Creek and the Rees River, while it’s also assessing erosion on Glenorchy’s floodbank and has an application in to install a water level monitor in the town’s lagoon.

It’s also looking at possible sites for a new ‘‘flow gauging station’’ on the Rees River,
while the Emergency Management Otago team’s developing a flood emergency evacuation plan.

John Glover says the community’s ‘‘really supportive of what they’re doing’’, but says there are some bigger issues to overcome, including the floodbank — a Queenstown council structure — which is ‘‘the last line of defence’’.

At present that was not tall enough, however the cost to raise it appeared to be prohibitive.

Glover says work also needs to be done further up the valley to keep the Rees out of ‘‘the lagoons’’, a wetland area around which there’s a popular boardwalk.

Over time the riverbeds have built up, causing the river itself to get higher.

‘‘I think what we’ll find is … we’ll see them be the lowest point on the Rees Valley and,
naturally, the river would want to move into there.

‘‘You have this dilemma — do you allow the river to take its natural course, in which case it will wash away all the boardwalk and all the lagoons … or do you live behind a bigger and bigger floodbank?

‘‘That’s actually a really difficult one.’’

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz