Wairoa has secured $70m, ring-fenced by the Central Government for flood mitigation, says Wairoa District Council Mayor Craig Little.
He said engineers contracted by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council were looking at flood protection options to take the district’s impacted residents from 2A to Land Category 2C and 1.
“We still have around 140 yellow stickered homes and 627 properties in Land Category 2A. Our focus is on getting whānau back into their homes, but to achieve that, we need to know what caused such extreme flooding on February 14,” Little said in a statement.
“We know there was a series of contributing factors, including debris and slash backed up like beaver dams on bridges, a huge volume of water that came into the Wairoa catchment, the location and openness of the Wairoa bar and the tide, shallow waterways, management of the power schemes and overflows.
“It may be a combination of these things that was the cause or something that has not even been considered. The key is knowing why we flooded so significantly so we can work on solutions.”
In the interim the Silt Recovery Taskforce is hard at work to clear woody debris in the district and has cleaned up approximately 155,000 tonnes of woody debris as at late last week.
In the Wairoa district, the Taskforce has appointed a project manager to deal with the amount of debris around the district, and particularly along the coast, focussing on Mohaka, Māhia, Wairoa, and around bridges.
Key recreational areas and traditional fishing zones have been mostly cleared of woody debris, with around 50,000m3 of debris recovered from Wairoa’s beaches and riverbanks.
The recovery effort to remove woody debris dumped on coastlines, river mouths and recreational areas due to Cyclone Gabrielle started in the middle of last year with a focus on providing safe recreational areas along the coastline, river mouths, beaches and bridges.
According to Wairoa District Council stockpiles of woody debris have been mulched, carted away and in most locations the debris has been burnt.
The disposal method differs at the various sites, focusing on minimising fire risk and remobilisation of material.
Around 20,000m3, predominantly in mulch and stockpiles, is still to be dealt with.
The council stated most of the clearing has been completed at Waikare and Mohaka Beaches and in the Wairoa township along Kopu Rod and Pilot Hill.
At Whakamahi Beach, around 5,000m3 of debris has been stockpiled into about 20 piles above the high tide mark on the beach and the adjacent reserve.
These piles will likely be burned while working in a partnership with Fire and Emergency Services NZ.
At Mahia, Opoutama, and Taylor’s Bay, around 70% of the recovery work has been completed, with continued burning of smaller piles of debris planned and some debris stacked against the beach foreshore for erosion and shorebird habitat protection.
Mahia Beach has been cleared to the camping ground area, and recreational use has been restored. Heaping and burning are continuing along the golf club area of the beach. Mahia was set back last November with an additional load of woody debris deposited onto the beach.
Around 4,500m3 of debris from 26 bridges in the Wairoa district have been cleared.
Woody debris clearing has been funded through the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council administered Silt and Debris Taskforce.
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