Storm dam­age to cost coun­cil $3.5m

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Your Local News - SAM KILMIS­TER

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.

PHOTO: POWERCO/ SUP­PLIED

A snow­storm in July made travel in places such as Ki­witea treach­er­ous.

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