Beams stolen from gates

Coastal News - - News -

Thieves have stolen steel from the Lower Pi­ako flood­gates in the Hau­raki Plains, and Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil says it’s a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent that has been re­ported to po­lice.

In­te­grated Catch­ment Man­age­ment works su­per­vi­sor Ian Sara says two walk­way plat­forms had been re­moved from the flood­gates in Kai­here Road, Nga¯ tea, and an at­tempt had been made on a third.

“With the third one they must have run out of bat­tery power. They’d tried to grind it off.”

Mr Sara says the plat­forms, which were about 7m long and 4.5m long, were heavy, up high, and would have re­quired at least two peo­ple to lift them.

They were no­ticed miss­ing on Oc­to­ber 31 dur­ing a monthly check on the coun­cil’s flood pro­tec­tion as­sets.

“I’d say some­one is us­ing them for a walk­way across a drain or for scrap me­tal.”

The walk­way plat­forms were bolted to ser­vice beams so staff can safely ac­cess the flood­gates for main­te­nance work.

The re­moval of the plat­forms did not com­pro­mise flood pro­tec­tion but was a health and safety is­sue for staff, says Mr Sara.

New re­place­ment plat­forms would be welded on to prevent fur­ther thefts.

“We have in ex­cess of 120 steel walk­ways on the Pi­ako-wai­hou scheme, and any ad­ja­cent to high­ways and roads will be welded down.”

The po­lice have been in­formed of the thefts.

“If you’ve seen a nice walk­way bridge some­where over a drain, or any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity, it’d be good to let them know,” says Mr Sara.

The coun­cil is treat­ing this as a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent, not only be­cause of the cost to ratepay­ers, but also be­cause it threat­ens lives and the in­tegrity of crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture that is there to prevent dam­age to prop­er­ties dur­ing floods.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Ser­vice beams like this one have been stolen from flood­gates in the Hau­raki Plains.

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