Mayor’s flood wall wailing

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They argued as flood waters lapped their feet at Queenstown Bay last month. 

And six weeks later, mayor Clive Geddes is still scrapping with tourism heavyweight Skyline Enterprises about its metre-high, flood-busting barrier wall. 

When the flood threat peaked, Geddes prevented Skyline – a major downtown property owner – completing its innovative temporary structure across Beach Street and the Rees Street/Marine Parade juncture. 

Some nearby businesses pleaded for Skyline to finish it but Geddes wanted access open to emergency services. 

At a flood debrief on Tuesday, Geddes said it wasn’t the forum to debate protection methods, but pledged to reconsider council’s ‘Learning to live with flooding’ approach. 

Nevertheless, Geddes and Skyline continued their war of words. 

Totally Tourism boss Mark Quickfall asked whether Skyline’s wall would have been the sensible answer if it had seriously flooded. 

Geddes: “The answer is we don’t know.” 

Skyline chairman Ken Matthews told Geddes it was previously trialled at Frankton Beach and retained water to knee height. 

Geddes shot back: “I don’t want to debate that here. What you have in front of you is an offer to reopen that discussion.” 

Matthews: “Thank you. It’s just incorrect to say the wall is untried.” 

Geddes continued to query the wall’s effectiveness, saying: “It was untried in that flood environment, that’s the key thing.” 

Geddes says he has no preference on flood protection adopted by businesses but he’ll bring interested parties together to revisit council’s flood approach in four weeks.