Porirua School floods... again
Porirua School principal Vanessa Hendry cut a lonely figure last Tuesday as she stood vigil at her school to see if flood waters would breach her classrooms.
And again, on Thursday afternoon, she stood at the gate as parents came to pick up their children following yet another deluge.
Watching the water rise was something she was used to.
‘‘It’s the third time in 21⁄ years it’s happened but this isn’t as bad as the previous two times.’’
On Tuesday, the school was empty - after the earthquake, the pupils had been told to stay home - and the water did not enter the classrooms.
Board of Trustees chairwoman Melanie Carroll said ‘‘discussions were ongoing’’ with both the Ministry of Education and Porirua City Council.
‘‘You get waves of water in the road outside [on Awarua St, in a downpour] and as much as 10 centimetres of water into the school grounds,’’ she said.
‘‘Luckily the classrooms are raised but if it’s a wave that comes in, the classrooms get swamped.’’
Carroll said the council was good at keeping drains unblocked, and the Awarua St ‘‘river’’ did drain into Elsdon Park, but the floods were becoming too commonplace.
‘‘What we have is a lot of anxiety, when it rains, from parents, staff and children. It’s hard on everyone.’’
The Ministry’s head of education infrastructure service, Jerome Sheppard, said a working group had been formed with representatives from Porirua City Council, Wellington Water to investigate a solution.
‘‘We realise it’s frustrating for them [but] this project is under way and we continue to take an active part in these discussions. We do not have an indication of what various options might cost.’’
Council chief operating officer Tamsin Evans said Awarua St was very low-lying and the stormwater network could not cope with sudden volumes of water.
While the footpath and berm had been lowered outside the school, to drain away flooding, ‘‘detailed modelling’’ would be undertaken to address the situation.
‘‘Long-term solutions will be expensive, so we have to make sure we’re spending money in the right place, at the right time.’’