Anger over lack of protection for Westport homes after two devastating floods

Hundreds of Westport homes remain red or yellow-stickered months on from two one-in-100-year floods.

Newshub hears from one Westport resident who is still in a temporary house waiting for repairs to her home, and the man buying, fixing and selling flood-damaged properties to help restock the market.

For nearly a year this has been Carolyn Dolden's home - not a house but a portable unit.

Finally, tiles are going back up inside her Westport home, stripped bare after being washed out by flooding last July. But it's left a haunting fear.

"Terrified. Every time I hear it's going to rain I feel sick. I feel my stomach go over every time I read an orange warning or even a watch," she told Newshub.

That's shared by her neighbour Kevin O'Loughlin whose house nearly flooded for a second time earlier this year. If it happens again he won't stay.

"I'll get 'em to knock it down and get out of it. I don't know whether I could go through it again," he told Newshub.

He's one of many locals angry their homes remained unprotected months later.

"What we're thinking about doing, a lot of us, is to go and see them and tell them we're not going to pay any rates until they do get their ass into gear."

Council and Government have been exploring options to better protect Westport.

Makeshift stopbanks were put in place in Westport before the floods earlier this year. A multi-million-dollar stopbank is one option being considered with relocation of parts of the town another long-term possibility.

"Some people will say probably being an unpopular saying that I'd move to higher ground but I will," Westport resident Ross Eddy said.

"All the sentimental stuff is pretty much gone. So where you live doesn't really matter anymore," added resident Carolyn Dolden.

Finding somewhere to live right now is difficult. Hundreds of homes are still red or yellow-stickered and 30 families currently call emergency housing home.

One man trying to change that is another Westport resident, Shayne Kennedy.

He bought a flood-damaged property, completely renovating it and added a pit in the backyard.

Not a barbecue pit but a flood pit to protect it from further damage.

"Everything will sort of come down into this pit and wash away, that's the theory of it," he said.

His theory is to buy more abandoned properties and give them a new lease of life.

"Then we've got housing back for the community so it's a win-win situation for everybody," he said.

With better housing and protection maybe Westport can weather what Mother Nature throws at her next.