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The clean-up begins for the Coromandel


The clean-up begins for the Coromandel following weekend's bad weather


Flooding along State Highway 25 this weekend, Rhodes Park. PHOTO: TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The Coromandel took a hammering in the last week with the weather affecting most of our roads, closing schools and businesses and isolating communities some without power and water.

Over the 5 days our district had approximately 850ml of rainfall - which equates to what we normally get in one full year.

"This was one major weather event for us," says our Civil Defence controller Garry Towler.

Our Council has appointed a recovery manager who is now out in the field assessing damage to the region - with the most affected areas being Tairua, Onemana, Opoutere and Whangamata. The priority is assessing all of public reserve land and infrastructure (toilets, water and wastewater pipes, roads) along with visiting private property owners who have been in touch to let us know they have been greatly affected.

Most of the damage that's occurred has been from slips and flooding.

"We have 30 sites on our priority list to visit over the next two days," says Mr Towler. "There's 12 private properties between Whangamata and Tairua that we have done structural engineering assessments on over the past few days, four of those properties have been deemed uninhabitable in the short-term."

Our Council is leaving a water tanker outside the Puriri Pub, for another day as a precautionary measure against low water pressure issues experienced by the rural Thames Valley South water supply at the weekend. All water supplies are operational at this time but we will continue to keep a close eye on Thames Valley South area as it's prone to blocking during weather events because it's not on town supply but rather a rural scheme.

In the Kaueranga Valley there has been extensive damage to Department of Conservation (DOC) facilities and infrastructure in the area. DOC has made the decision to close all tracks, huts, campgrounds and the Valley Road from the Visitor Centre onwards until further notice for reasons of public safety. The Visitor Centre will remain open during this time. DOC is working to begin assessment and remedial work on damage this week and will open facilities once they deem them to be safe.

DOC is asking that visitors use extreme caution if you are using any other tracks or facilities in the area. For further information or for booking refunds, please contact the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre on 07 867 9080.

Over the weekend we also had a large number of our absentee ratepayers come into the distrct to visit their properties to assess any damage to their homes. "We're encouraging absentee homeowners to contact their neighbours, their bach or holiday home manager or whoever takes care of their property to check over their place in the following days and weeks.

"It's still too early to put an estimated cost on the damage to the District," says Mr Towler. "Council's engineering and building staff are continuing with assessments on infrastructure, parks and reserves in the coming days, which is when we'll be able to get a better handle on costs."

Beach Hop organisers have informed us that the event will still take place from 22 - 26 March as planned and they are doing all they can to help with the clean-up process. So if you've booked to come for this event, we are looking forward to having you here on the Coromandel. Check for Beach Hop updates here - www.beachhop.co.nz

The weather outlook until then shows the weather improving with only slight chance of showers. Keep up to date with the weather forecast by heading to www.metservice.com/rural/coromandel

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