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Huge demand for flood buyouts in Milford

Flagstaff Team

Milford accounts for the vast bulk of the 226 property owners across the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board area seeking buyouts for their badly flood-hit homes.  

So far, the owners of 177 homes in the suburb have opted into assessment for the voluntary buyout process, latest figures from Auckland Council show. Of these 145 were listed as having been hit by floods and 10 by slips, with some causes not yet fully detailed.   

In Sunnynook the owners of 10 properties have opted into the buyout process.

The figures supplied at the Observer’s request do not detail other surrounding local suburbs such as Forrest Hill and Takapuna.

A council spokesperson said “our data team is swamped”. A further breakdown has been promised soon.

Just over a year on from the disastrous Auckland Anniversary Day floods only a handful of buy outs have been settled – none of them from the DTLB area, which accounts for around 10 per cent of the property owners who are seeking assessment for them. 

It would likely be March before assessments and categorisations for the DTLB area were completed, the spokesperson for the council’s Recovery Office said. 

“We still have some complex cases that go through to midyear – particularly where there is an interaction with community-scale projects.”

Around 600 Auckland buyout approvals are expected overall, from more than 2200 assessments in the process currently. 

The high number from the DTLB area underlines the extent to which its northern area – predominantly in the Wairau catchment, which funnels to the sea at Milford – was affected by the flood and is still at risk for repeat severe weather events. 

Castor Bay and coastal areas of the Devonport peninsula, were also impacted.  

The council spokesperson said assessments were complex. To the end of last year, 173 detailed desktop assessments and 144 site assessments had been done in the DTLB. 

These are used to decide qualifying categories for potential buyouts. To qualify to enter into discussions for the joint council and government-funded buyout, homes must be considered in Category 3, meaning they carry a danger  to life in future weather events, with no feasible way to mitigate risk.    

Homes at risk, but with mitigation options available on site, may fall into Category 2P, where there is some support available for property owners to do the work.  

The Wairau Valley catchment has been identified by Healthy Waters as needing mitigation, which further complicates individual categorisations. 

Big projects may take up to 10 years to begin, adding to uncertainty.

Read more: Huge demand for flood buyouts in Milford

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