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since 1987

‘There’s nowhere for the water to go,’ say flood-hit Māngere residents

Residents in Ventura St have been cleaning up this week, dumping their belongings destroyed in last Friday’s flooding. Photo: Iain Mcgregor /Stuff
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

Residents in a Māngere street say properties in the area regularly flood during heavy rain and Kāinga Ora and the Auckland Council need to step up and address their concerns.

Most homes in Ventura St were damaged in last week’s flooding. Many affected properties are Kāinga Ora houses built in the past three years.

Kent Peni fled his Ventura St home at 3am last Saturday with his children after rising flood waters engulfed his property. When he left the water was waist-deep on the road.

Homes on the street are less than 100 metres from Te Ararata Creek, which Peni said rises rapidly with increased stormwater and sewage during storms.

Peni said the residents were planning to hold a meeting to discuss it before last week’s catastrophic events.

A week on, the clean-up continues in Māngere’s Ventura St. Photo: Jason Dorday/Stuff

“When it rains, normally our garden floods,” he said. “There’s just nowhere for the water to go.

“We were planning to meet with Kāinga Ora to discuss it because there’s been an ongoing issue with flooding in the area.”

Peni is staying in Manurewa with his partner and their four children while they wait to find out what Kāinga Ora plans to do with their property.

Ventura St resident Manoj Regmi bought his home in July last year from Fletcher Living and he said the section had flooded at least twice since he moved in before last Friday’s deluge.

“It’s only been just over six months since we bought the property – it’s crazy,” he said.

Kent Peni lives in Ventura St and fled his home at 3am on Saturday with his children after rising flood waters engulfed his property. Photo: Stephen Forbes/Stuff

Regmi said Auckland Council needs to be held to account for much of the damage due to the sheer number of new homes it has allowed to be built in the area.

He said with more extreme weather events due to climate change, the council needs to ensure its stormwater infrastructure can cope.

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chairperson Nick Bakulich said local residents have previously raised concerns about flooding caused by the creek.

“Auckland Council is aware of the problem, but our stormwater network is just not up to it,” he said.

In a statement, Auckland Council general manager of resource consents Ian Smallburn refused to answer questions about the ongoing flooding in Ventura St and said its focus remains on the city’s state of emergency and supporting communities recovering from the storm events.

Homes in Māngere’s Ventura St are less than 100 metres from the nearby Te Ararata Creek which floods during storms. Photo: Stephen Forbes/Stuff

“We understand Aucklanders will have questions about specific areas that have experienced flooding, but with widespread damage across the region we are not in a position to respond to those at present.”

According to a Fletcher Living spokesperson, it partnered with Kāinga Ora to build new homes in Māngere. But under the agreement the Auckland Council and Kāinga Ora were responsible for upgrading infrastructure in the area.

“With the intensification of the Māngere area proposed by Kāinga Ora, this will inevitably result in increased stormwater and wastewater discharges into the local network.”

Kāinga Ora deputy chief executive for Auckland and Northland Caroline Butterworth said it is currently investigating the damage to the 22 properties it owns in Ventura St.

She said for all of its developments it conducts land surveys and stormwater modelling to mitigate against flooding.

Local democracy reporting

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