Council paying for generational apathy
If you search for ‘‘history of Porirua city centre’’ on the city council’s website, one of the photos you will see is Tom Ryan’s store with what appears to be a lake in front of it.
The photograph isn’t dated, but it’s likely to be from the early 1900s.
It’s not actually a water feature as the caption makes clear: ‘‘Ryan’s store during one of the frequent floodings by Kenepuru Stream.’’
Notice the word ‘‘frequent’’ - it’s an adjective, 100 years later, that is still spot on when it comes to flooding in the city.
And it seems to be getting worse, especially in the last decade.
Talk to folk who have lived in Porirua all their lives and they’ll recount single flooding episodes from the past.
But in the last 10 years, we seem to get two massive downpours a year that brings the city to a shuddering halt.
Porirua experiences localised flooding - Cannons Creek one time, Titahi Bay the next, or the city centre, as the Kapi-Mana News office experienced in 2015.
Last month it was Whitby and Plimmerton. Flooding caused slips, the dip in Discovery Dr became an impassable pond, and SH58 in general became a minefield of mud and water.
Porirua City Council’s politicians and officials dread the sound of thunder pealing and rain falling over the basin.
The ability of council staff, and contractors like Downer, to act appropriately is admirable. Yes, the Whitby flooding was disastrous for commuters and the suburb suffered, but these men and women acted swiftly to remedy the numerous infrastructure woes.
The council agreed last week to divert $600,000 from its budget into urgent repair work in the aftermath of the flooding, which was the right decision.
Well over $1 million is also tagged for stormwater and wastewater work around the city, so things are being done.
But the council is paying for generational apathy towards its infrastructure.
Nick Leggett flagged upgrading Porirua’s pipes as crucial when he pitched for the mayoral chains in 2010.
Six years and multiple flooding events later, this city is at a point where even more rates dollars will need to be poured down its drains and pipes.
Engineering reports are being done as we speak and detailed plans are afoot to tackle the city’s flooding epidemic.
It’s a relief to see this happening.