Environment Southland is upgrading the existing stop banks in the town of Gore (population 7300 +). This project aims to provide a more robust and continuous flood defence scheme for Gore by focusing on areas that present the most risk to the community in the event of flooding in the near term. It is part of a comprehensive programme of climate resilience work planned for the Mataura River catchment.
Very high flows in the Mataura River in February 2020 saw Gore's stop banks tested to near capacity with the largest volume of water to pass under the Gore and Mataura bridges in recorded history. Emergency management and council staff, alongside Southland emergency services, evacuated more than 2500 residents close to the river in Gore for a minimum period of 24 hours. Fortunately, the stop banks did a good job protecting those adjoining communities from river flooding, but damage to them was costly and time-consuming to repair.
The stop banks in Gore also protect the main road and rail bridges that provide vital links between Southland and the rest of the country.
The priority areas of work to September 2023 are:
• Construction of new stop bank along Ontario and Toronto Streets to replace the existing concrete flood protection wall.
• Alterations, replacement and installation of existing and new storm water culverts.
• Removal of high-risk trees on the true right stop bank in Gore township along River and Richmond Streets.