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“Nelson Deserves Equal Treatment”: One Year On From The August Floods

16 August 2023

Steady local progress in the recovery from the August 2022 floods needs to be backed up by the same Government support received by North Island regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, says Nelson Mayor Nick Smith one year on from the severe weather event.

“The August 2022 floods were the worst civil defence emergency in 50 years in Nelson with more than 1000 people evacuated, 210 homes significantly damaged and 550 landslips. One year on, we have the number of red-stickered homes down to 13 and yellow-stickered down to 68.

“Council is working closely with those who have suffered the worst effects and has come quite far in terms of recovery, but no one at Civic House is saying ‘job done’ – there’s still a lot for us to do for our community and it remains Council’s top priority.

“We applaud the approach Government has taken to support those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, and while that event happened six months ago and affected a larger geographical area, the effect of the August weather event for some in Nelson is no less.

“I seek Government support in three different ways: Extending the accommodation support received in the North Island to Nelsonians whose insurance cover for accommodation has finished, financial support to potentially buy out unfixable properties, and assistance with the cost of building back better when it comes to repairing landslips on Council land.

“We received good support during the emergency from Government but it’s frustrating that we are not being provided with the same assistance as other areas of the country for the recovery. My plea is for Nelson to be treated equally.”

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At a local level, Council is continuing its programme of recovery work with a goal of finishing everything in six years and paying for it in 10.

“We are about a third of the way through the recovery work, having spent $24 million to date out of an expected total of $74 million, including the Council landslip remediation work,” says Mayor Nick.

“We’ve removed more than 35,000 cubic metres of gravel from our rivers, and reopened four swimming holes in the Maitai. We’ve repaired the Maitai Raw Water Pipeline, and cleared stormwater and sewer pipes of debris. We’ve repaired many of the slips across the city, and reopened 99% of our tracks. Devenish Place, which was gutted during the storm, has been completely rebuilt and work is underway to make sure Maitai Valley Road, Brook Street and Cable Bay Road are two lanes throughout.

“We have also committed to repairing the 18 slips on Council land affecting or potentially affecting private property so the land is more secure than before and the risk of subsequent slips is much lower.

“I’d like to thank all of the Council staff, government agencies and contractors who were involved in the emergency and the ongoing recovery work. Their efforts for Nelson have been first-rate. From our Navigator Team, who have helped 218 households deal with complex queries, right through to the team of contractors that ingeniously engineered the repair of the Maitai Raw Water Pipeline, I offer my gratitude as the job of recovery continues.”

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