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Resilient River Communities

Saxton Creek Upgrade

Nelson City Council

Funding for the Stage 4 Saxton Creek project will fast track work to upgrade Saxton Creek’s channel flood protection capacity and the capacity of the culverts between Main Road Stoke and Whakatu Drive.

This upgrade will help the area’s resilience to a 1 in 100 year flood event. It will look to prevent flooding of Main Road Stoke (a main access road) and the large commercial and industrial properties in Wakatu Industrial Estate. The project work will incorporate environmental enhancements as part of the flood protection works. The Wakatu Industrial Estate, was flooded in 2011 and 2013 following an extreme weather events, with several businesses experiencing water going through their premises. This caused significant business disruption. Flooding from the 2013 event alone, caused economic loss of over $1.5m.  Nelson City Council, in collaboration with Tasman District Council (the upper part of Saxton Creek flows through the Tasman District Council area), have embarked on a programme to improve the capacity of the creek and the culverts. This is to protect houses in the area as well as the downstream industrial properties from flooding.  Initial work on improving an upstream section of Saxton Creek began in 2015, but funding constraints have limited completing the full extent of the work. The addition of Covid-19 Recovery Funding will enable the remaining work to be fast tracked for the final stage of the project, improving the flood capacity of Saxton Creek from Main Road Stoke down to State Highway 6 (Whakatu Drive).

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of rainfall events, and flooding has already had a significant economic impact on the businesses in Wakatu Industrial Estate. Main Road Stoke and State Highway 6 (Whakatu Drive) are also key lifeline connection roads in the area, and need to be accessible during major weather events.

This flood protection works will ensure industries critical to our region’s economy can operate, including a major meat processing facility, large truck specialist, technical education centre, numerous building trade companies and storage facilities.

The benefits of this project include:

  • Increased resilience for local businesses by providing enhanced flood protection for their properties.
  • Improved transport network resiliency as lifeline roads will not be inundated as a result of flooding.
  • Enhanced environmental outcomes, including for stream ecology.

This project has created 27 full-time equivalent jobs, including 20 in construction involving 5 local sub-contractors, plus project management engineers and materials suppliers. This project is expected to take 2 years to complete.

Saxton Creek Project webpage:

More information on the overall Saxton Creek project can be found here.

The co-funding in partnership with Kānoa relates specifically to the final stage of the project – stage 4.        


April 2013 Flood event:


This flood event triggered the current upgrade.

Saxton Creek Upgrade – Plan of the various stages: Note: Stage 4 connects to existing culvert under SH6.