Tauranga‘s coastline to get tsunami sirens
Sirens with voice-over capability will be installed along the coastline from near Mount Maunganui Primary School to Papamoa East; covering approximately 15km with 10 to 12 sirens.
The communities along this stretch of coastline are those in the highest flood (inundation) risk zone from a tsunami compared with other coastal areas of Tauranga.
The project will be rolled out in two stages.
For stage one, Council approved the installation of six to eight voice-over sirens along the Omanu – Papamoa coast down to Wairakei, which is approximately a 12km stretch of coast. This strip has the widest tsunami inundation areas, the furthest to travel to safe areas, and contains the largest population.
Stage two will add sirens along the 3km from Mount Maunganui Primary School to Omanu. A request to confirm capital funding for this will go to the next Finance and Risk Committee meeting. This area has a large daytime population including schools.
Planning for the final location of each siren is already underway and their installation will be completed before the end of 2021.
Tauranga City Councillor Steve Morris says they will talk to the community about the location of each of the sirens.
Sirens with voice-over capability are more effective than those with alerting tones only as voice messages are able to help drive actions and reduce confusion.
“Tsunami sirens are one of many ways we can alert our community.
“There are already national mobile altering systems, which are regularly tested and promoted, localised maps that highlight evacuation routes and safe zones, the Red Cross hazard app and national “Get Ready, Get Thru” education campaigns.
“The main message in all the education campaigns is to not only depend on an official alert. If you feel a strong earthquake, get gone - If its long or strong, get gone.”
Once the sirens are in place, Council will launch a community campaign, including testing, so that everyone knows what to expect and what to do when they hear the sirens.
Further work needs to be done to understand whether additional siren sites are required for the remaining tsunami hazard areas in Tauranga, including Mount North, Matua and Welcome Bay.
This assessment would allow for further budget consideration in Council’s next Long-term Plan.
“We will be talking to our community through the next Long Term Plan budget process to ensure any further investment in sirens meets their needs.”
In a post on his Facebook page, Steve says this has been a baby of his for nine years.
“Constantly pushing both outside and inside Council; organising a private test of air-raid sirens in 2012, lobbying both BOP Civil Defence and Central Government for a 24/7/365 Emergency Operations Centre in Wellington that's now up and running, plus building evacuation routes, I thank my Councillor colleagues, and especially Leanne Brown - Looking After Locals, who passed this project unanimously. I'm also pleased we've been able to find the money from within existing budgets,” the post reads.
“Over the next six months, Council will be applying for resource consent to install nine sirens from around Mount Primary School down to Papamoa East. Installation will take 12 months after consent.
“We need to solve some technical issues with radio transmission due to topography for the next stage which is going to include the Mount Shops as well as Matua and Welcome Bay.”
The budget for installation of that stage will be coming to Council for approval in 2021.