Town passes storm test in style
Last weekend we experienced four seasons in as many days, with the rain affecting us all in one way or another. Some have called it the worst storm in decades!
The road north was closed, and many hundreds of travellers had to change plans and stay overnight in Kaikoura. Many others were trapped between slips along the northern coast line and had to brave the elements until help arrived in the form of two Ford Bro’s loaders at dawn.
I would like to thank Anthony, Dave and the team from Downer who were on the ground from the start of the storm clearing slips from State Highway 1. It’s at times like this that we are thankful for strong working relationships with our key stakeholders. An example of this is the willingness of Ford Bros Contracting to respond immediately to the call for assistance by deploying two loaders and drivers to start clearing slips. This allowed Search & Rescue 4WDs and unimog to get to vehicles stranded between Ohau Point and the shingle fans.
I would also like to give special mention to the BP Service Station staff who stayed open to assist motorists overnight. Both BP and Caltex provided a communication hub on Thursday and Friday that was an important way to reassure people caught up in the event.
A special thanks to the retailers and staff who kept calm and carried on as the storm tested everyone’s patience. Thanks also to the Telco companies who replaced 1.5 kilometres of cable to reconnect us with the rest of the world!
The storm and subsequent failure of our communications networks is a timely reminder to have an emergency plan in place with your whanau and neighbours. If we are able to look after each other in the short term, this allows the District Council, contractors, and other services to focus on assessing and rectifying problems.
Finally, from what I have seen and experienced in my short time here, Kaikoura is a resourceful and resilient community with committed and wellequipped emergency services and volunteer organisations, who all work together to maintain a safe and prosperous community. Remember to drive to the conditions and keep an eye out for kids who may be out and about during the school holidays.
Sergeant Matt Boyce