Why did Project Twin Streams purchase properties?
Rivers and streams flood as a matter of course and over time they build up a flood plain – the area beside the banks into which the waterways spread when there is a flood. Flood plains are vital for the health of waterways as they absorb much of the extra water to help slow the water’s flow.
Increased housing density, including building houses on the flood plains, and climate change have both increased the frequency and intensity of flooding to vulnerable houses near streams – causing both a health risk and a danger to local residents.
The purchase and subsequent removal of these houses by Project Twin Streams has both helped reduce the risk of flood damage and made the stream banks more accessible for restoration planting. In addition allowing the streams to return to their natural flow path in times of flood reduces the amount of sediment carried in the streams and consequently the impact of erosion.
To date there have been 78 full property purchases and 78 part-purchases without recourse to compulsory purchase under the Public Works Act. In addition 69 covenants to allow access for planting and maintenance have been sought.
What was the process for purchases?
A comprehensive and detailed process of engagement with affected homeowners was developed. Initially, community drop-in days were held to communicate the overall objectives of Project Twin Streams and the level of flooding risk faced by homeowners.
Affected owners were then directly approached by carefully selected and trained team members. The aims of Project Twin Streams were discussed with homeowners who were given as much time as required to come to a decision. Waitakere City Council worked with homeowners to overcome issues such as the relocation of significant trees and emotional ties such as placentas and pets buried on properties.
Local support services such as CAB were also briefed to allow them to give accurate and independent advice to homeowners. WCC paid all relocation expenses – including independent valuation and legal fees – upfront and where required, assisted in finding alternative homes for displaced residents.
What has happened to the houses and the land they were on?
The majority of the houses purchased have been removed. The removal of these properties together with the additional land acquired from part-purchases has allowed walk and cycleways to be built and new public areas to be opened up, such as the Community Edible Garden on Millbrook Road Esplanade in Oratia and Duck Park in Glen Eden.
Areas of reclaimed land that have not been turned into cycleways or public areas are now either esplanade or drainage reserves.
Download the Property Purchases Case-study.