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Shaun McCracken

Chartered Engineer, Environment Canterbury

Shaun McCracken is a Chartered Engineer leading a team of river engineers and planners at Environment Canterbury. Normally this role involves the delivery of flood protection to Canterbury communities through the management of stopbanks, vegetation, riverbed topography, and related works. Subsequent to the June 2021 Canterbury Floods, Shaun was seconded into a fixed term role as the Recovery Manager for flood protection and will talk about the successes and challenges of making room for the river in this context.

Successes and Challenges of Making Room for Canterbury Rivers

Thurs 11:00 am

Working as a rivers engineer at a regional council requires a careful balance of utilitarian flood control, habitat enhancement, erosion management, landowner & community expectations, legal obligations, property rights, cultural engagement, betterment of river corridors, te mana o te wai, political & councillor expectations, pest management, environmental permissions, affordability and more. It’s a complex world. Major flood events such as the May/June 2021 Canterbury floods provide an opportunity for change in the river management approach but only if you can balance all of these sometimes competing expectations and communicate the case in a compelling way. This presentation will canvas some of the challenges faced after this flood, and how this aligns to the workshop theme of ‘Room for the River’.