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Storm-damaged Coast Road doesn't stop baby's birth

Storm-damaged Coast Road doesn't stop baby's birth

Not even heavy damage to the Thames Coast Road (State Highway 25) could stop Isla Grace Elizabeth Wilkes from being born on Saturday at the Thames Birthing Unit - just one day after the storm tide tore big holes in the road and covered it in debris, making Te Mata parents Mike and Jovana Wilkes wonder if they would make it in time.

The Wilkes run Te Mata Lodge alongside Jovana's parents and when Isla Grace was due they had to make the run down the Coast Rd late on Saturday.

"I was super impressed - with all the holes, even travelling on Saturday night we got through," says Mike Wilkes.

"The real anxious part was - she [Jovana] was calm, but I was convinced she was going to have the baby on the 5th."

Isla Grace was born just before midnight on Saturday, weighing in at 8lbs 1oz. Mother and daughter spent three nights in Thames before returning home.

"I was blown away by the progress on the road," says Mr Wilkes.

Te Mata Lodge is just one of many businesses on the Thames Coast and Coromandel-Colville area that has seen a decline in business since Friday's storm tide.

Many of those businesses told our Council's Economic Development Officer - when he visited them yesterday to see if they needed support - that business had begun to pick up again.

Te Mata Lodge hasn't had any cancellations, but the usual number of advance bookings has dropped off. They're looking at offering discounts to attract more guests.

The Thames Coast Road is open but motorists can expect some delays from stop-go management at some sections while heavy vehicles work on repairing the damage.
Speed restrictions are in place past the work sites and where the road surface is rough.

The escorted convoy system ended on Wednesday evening. If you're driving the Coast Rd, please watch your speed, be careful of the rough surface in some places and take care passing the work sites.

NZTA has prohibited heavy vehicles over 5 tonnes on SH25 between Te Puru and Manaia - these are required to take the alternative route via SH 25A through Kopu and SH 25 on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula.

Otherwise, the Coromandel is open for business as usual!

Our regional tourism organisation, Destination Coromandel, is preparing a campaign to remind the world that the Coromandel is open for businesses and there is still plenty to do here despite the damage to the Thames Coast Road from the storm tide.

We'll be sharing the campaign on our Council channels once it begins in the next week.

Check our Council's weekly What's on in the Coromandel newsletter for upcoming events and look at the Destination Coromandel website www.thecoromandel.com for ideas on what to do and see in our District.

© Scoop Media

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