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