What happens if there's an earthquake and the Kaimai Rail tunnel is blocked, forcing all the freight to and from the Port of Tauranga onto the roads?
How will the city cope with the congestion? It's a question Tauranga City Councillor Larry Baldock wants added to the city's risk register.
He made the request before the city council Afram Committee - Audit, Finance, Risk and Monitoring; before it closed its doors to the public on Monday to discuss other items on the city's risk register.
“I want to raise one that I had noted in the confidential section,” says Larry.
“I don't see any problem with me raising it I have raised it at SmartGrowth in the open forum. There is reference in the later part of the report about earthquake risk and the impact on our strategic roading network and so on.
“I would like to raise the very significant risk from earthquake to the Kaimai tunnel, and the rail link to the port. That is not yet in our register but I believe it is something we ought to be addressing and I don't see any confidentiality about that. We have a new government and they are focussing on rail issues. I think we need to push this to a significant place in our discussion.”
It would be catastrophic if an earthquake hit the region and disabled the Kaimai tunnel, as all the freight for New Zealand would then come off rail and onto our roads, says Larry.
“It should in a future risk register appear and then start to be addressed as a serious issue for us.”
Risk Specialist Chris Quest says that particular issue can be incorporated into a resilience workshop scheduled for January.
Councillor Kelvin Clout wants to know how organisational risk and risk to the city is balanced in the register.
“How do we balance those?” says Kelvin. “Is one more important than the other from a council perspective? Because if we look at city wide risk, there are so many risks that you could include in this. I just want to be careful we don't spread ourselves too thin in terms of the risk register.”
That will also be discussed at the January workshop and reported back to the February committee meeting says Chris.
The city currently has eight critical risks on its register, but only five appear in the public agenda, and they relate to how various events like an overload of the wastewater network, a failure to plan for the impact of climate change, or a change in the rate of the city's population growth will impact the council, legally, financially or its reputation.