Stormwater still being assessed
Pensioner units will be safe to live in again
Western Bay’s mayor says it is too soon to know whether the stormwater system needs any significant upgrades beyond what is already planned after floods in Waih¯ı Beach on May 29.
The Western Bay of Plenty District Council has also confirmed the floodaffected pensioner units in Waih¯ı Beach will be safe to live in again after assessments showed none have been declared “dangerous”.
Floods hit Waih¯ı Beach on Monday afternoon, where the council estimated 60mm of rain fell in an hour.
The flooding forced up to 50 people from their homes, with 27 people evacuated and elderly residents rescued by firefighters when the water reached their windows.
The council’s pensioner housing on Beach Rd was one of the worsthit areas, with 11 of the 19 units flooded.
A council media statement said the tenants of the affected units had a team of people helping them sort through their things, remove wet carpet and clean up.
“While all of the units have been assessed and are not considered dangerous, it’s going to be a while before some of the tenants can move back in.”
The recovery would be an ongoing process and the insurance companies would now step in. Making the units habitable with repairs, new wall linings, carpets and appliances could take up to two months.
The council’s team were working on nearby longer-term accommodation for those in need, the statement said.
On water infrastructure, the statement said all of its water systems were operating at normal or near normal levels by Tuesday morning.
“The reservoir worked as designed throughout the rainfall event with excess stormwater water going over into the spillways.
“It was just the intensity of the rainfall that meant the reservoir went from near normal levels to overflowing within an hour.”
Geotechnical engineers would check its integrity as a matter of normal checking procedure, but the reservoir stayed intact throughout the rainfall event.
In terms of the wider stormwater system, the “sheer volume of rain in the short space of time” meant rain was falling faster than it could be carried away through the stormwater system.
“Given that most of the water did drain away relatively quickly, we know the stormwater was working throughout, but it wasn’t designed for the deluge we saw on Monday afternoon.”
In the statement, Mayor James Denyer said it was “too soon to say” whether the system needed any significant upgrades beyond some already planned, which were upcoming projects that could help protect against future flooding.
“But as we’ve seen in other parts of the country, our stormwater systems are not designed for this level of intense rainfall and runoff, and when it occurs, overland flow and flooding is likely to follow,” Denyer said.
All roads are open except for off Pacific Rd (access to Reservoir carpark and walkway) where the floodwaters had removed large parts of concrete kerbing and asphalt and scoured out the foundation of the road.
Access to the Trig walking track is still available from Ocean View Rd.
Local reserves and walking tracks have also been assessed.
The Trig track has some significant erosion damage including a large slip but the council was trying to get the track reopened for the long weekend, along with access via Ocean View Rd.
Other trails around the reservoir and the Forest Loop track will remain closed until further notice as work is needed to repair the damage and make them safe for use again.
If you see any further storm damage report it to the council on 0800 926 732, email email@example.com. nz or report it via the Antenno app.