A report has found moving the Franz Josef township away from a major fault line would clost to $600 million.
The tourist town, which sits on the Alpine Fault and next to the flood-prone Waiho River, is home to 221 ratepayers, but gets over half a million visitors a year.
A report commissioned by the West Coast Regional Council has analysed three options for how the town could deal with the risks of the fault line and the river.
The other two options - moving some assets away from the fault line or undertaking other flood protection measures - would cost about $60 million.
The regional council's chief executive, Mike Meehan, said they include shifting the township about 10km to Lake Mapourika, moving some assets away from the fault line or undertaking other flood protection measures.
"We've got a river that is in aggradation phase, which is building up by a couple of hundred millimetres every year and we have also got the Alpine Fault which runs straight through the middle of town ... so doing nothing, we believe, isn't an option," he said.
Mike Meehan said it would begin consulting on the options in November.
"There will be quite mixed views on it, like anything. I think about opportunities for the town, it's definitely an opportunity to look at a much more resilient town."