Forsyth, P.J.; Clark, E.; Becker, J.S.; Kerr, J.E. 2004 Queenstown floods revisited : the planning response to the 1999 Queenstown floods : changes made to planning for natural hazards in Queenstown . Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 2004/07 30 p.
Abstract: Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most important tourist destinations, and one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country. Due to its location at the edge of Lake Wakatipu, the central business district has been flooded a number of times since its establishment in about 1863. While these flood events were generally well understood by the local councils, the severity of the 1999 flood took many people, particularly retailers and business owners, by surprise. In November 1999, Lake Wakatipu reached a peak level of 312.78 m, exceeding the 1878 record and flooding about 5 hectares of the township. The central business district of Queenstown was badly affected: some businesses were still flooded up to two weeks after the waters had peaked, and some were still out of operation and continuing refurbishment more than three months after the initial event. Business interruption insurance claims were unusually high, ranking among the ten largest insurance payouts since records began in 1968. Many insurance companies subsequently removed flood insurance to businesses, substantially increased excesses for business interruption costs, or raised premiums. Institutional and community responses to the floods were of several types. Many possible options for reducing flood risk were collected during consultation with Queenstown and the wider Otago community. Initiatives were undertaken to mitigate future flooding hazards, and this report considers the ways in which Queenstown Lakes District Council has acted to manage future development in flood-prone areas. New buildings and redevelopments in the central business district are taking account of flood hazard in their design. A Natural Hazard Register has been set up to guide and inform council, property owners and developers. The community has improved warning systems and strategies for dealing with future flood events. Considerable thought has gone into ways to re-instate the town quickly after any future flooding. Accepting the hazard they live with and being resilient in now the primary goal of some residents. Others are still seeking physical engineering works to prevent or reduce the flood hazard. Several engineering projects to lessen the impact of future floods were proposed, but have proved controversial. Local and regional councils are now discussing more integrated solutions to reduce the regional flood hazard. (auth)