Storm damage to cost council $3.5m
More than 30 Manawatu¯ District roads are still scarred and broken after July’s massive snowstorm, frustrating farmers as officials dip into reserves to repair them.
Flood damage estimates have come in at $3.5 million, but the Manawatu¯ District Council will pay less than half that, with the havoc qualifying for the NZ Transport Agency’s emergency works financial assistance.
Council roading team leader Brent Holmes said 31 dropouts had taken chunks of roads in northern Manawatu¯ , with 18 of those needing urgent attention. ‘‘They’re moving as we go,’’ Holmes said. ‘‘They need immediate action.’’
Two of those serious dropouts are near Alex McIntyre’s deer farm on Oranipongo Rd and Mangimako Rd, east of Ohingaiti.
McIntyre was forced to shift stock after one of the dropouts claimed a large chunk of his fence. The paddock is out of circulation until the road is fixed.
McIntyre said some dropouts and slips happened more than 18 months ago.
‘‘It’s been a tough winter for all – for farmers, the council, power guys. They’re all doing their best.’’
Councillors voted on Thursday to borrow the council’s share of $1.1m, a move not supported by Cr Stuart Campbell. The transport agency will contribute the remaining $2.4m.
‘‘I’m not at all keen on borrowing... this will mean a 23 per cent increase on expenditure on roading this year alone,’’ Campbell said.
With the council’s roading reserve budget in deficit, borrowing was the logical option, chief executive Richard Templer said. Failure to borrow would result in the council withdrawing maintenance work from elsewhere in the district to fund the shortfall.
The council is responsible for the maintenance and renewal of 1364 kilometres of roading and 380 bridges district-wide. This requires the district council to spend nearly $12m a year against a total budget of $45m.
Holmes said solutions involved cutting further into banks for roading and moving the centre line, building retaining walls and green solutions, such as planting trees.
Holmes said the storm on July 12 hit the district hard, where substantial snow fell on northern Manawatu¯ and heavy rainfall blanketed the south.
Wet weather after that caused more slips and dropouts.
A snowstorm in July made travel in places such as Kiwitea treacherous.