Weather bomb overview - 9/03/2012Costs and time
Wanganui District Council’s Infrastructure Manager Julian Reweti and Property Manager Rowan McGregor estimate that approximately 2200 man hours have been spent to date as a result of the weather bomb.
Internal staff and contractors involved: 25-30 personnel at various times (excluding roading and Powerco)
Days: Six days and counting
Hours per day: 8 to 12
At this stage the costs of repairs and clean up are difficult to quantify. The first emergency response to get the district’s roads open and clear is likely to cost approximately $200,000.
The cost of getting the water system back on line is not expected to be high. The majority of the costs were associated with the power supply, so the majority of the cost to the Council is associated with staff response.
Infrastructure Manager Julian Reweti said the Council appreciated the efforts of residents who reduced their water use following the loss of power to the Kai Iwi bores.
The power outage meant that water from Kai Iwi could not be pumped to the Westmere reservoirs. The Aramoho bore was also out of action on Saturday so the city’s water supply had to rely on what was already in the reservoirs plus the smaller bores, Heloise (Westmere) and Blueskin Road.
Power was restored to No. 2 bore on Sunday and to No. 1 and No. 3 bores on Monday. Assisted by reduced water consumption and lowered pressure to the supply, the reservoir levels returned to normal by Wednesday. The water pressure has been progressively raised to normal levels during the past few days.
Property Manager Rowan McGregor says some parts of Kowhai Park have been closed but the playground area will be open for the weekend. The arboretum will remain closed.
Bason Botanic Gardens is closed and could remain closed for the next week. A team is working on the clean up but there have been significant tree losses including large gums and pines. Roads have been blocked and the gate is being kept closed until access is safe, and to allow the contractors to work unimpeded.
A team has been clearing the bottom track at Virginia Lake Reserve for public access. There is significant work to do, but that will have to wait until there are arborists available. We ask that the public respect that the paths have been cordoned off for their own safety, and not to walk through the barriers.
Smaller park areas are being worked through, mainly by our Task Force Green teams who are picking up debris.
Mr McGregor says the major damage to the region’s forestry estate occurred in the coastal belt between Maxwell and Patea. Localised damage has occurred in lowland and uphill country blocks with no set pattern other than where the storm may have passed.
Initial estimates are that 200-300ha may have been ‘toppled’ and efforts to recover as much as possible, as soon as possible, is the forest industry’s focus. The issue is not only the availability of suitable harvesting equipment, but the ability of the local processing facilities to deal with the increased supply.
Damage observed in the Wanganui District Councils’ Forestry Joint Committee’s Parapara forests has been isolated, with trees blocking access tracks which will take minimal time to clear. However, the full extent of damage will not be known until a more detailed assessment is undertaken.
Harvesting at Tauwhare on Tokomaru East Road, due for completion in a month’s time, may be delayed by a week or two due to the collapse of ‘edge’ trees covering a few hectares, but recovery will be reasonably high due to the equipment on site being available to immediately harvest the affected area.
Wanganui District Council’s 40ha forest estate at Nukumaru Domain Board has suffered most. As long as recovery operations can be done quickly, there should be a high volume recovered. There is concern about the quality of timber if ‘shattering’ has occurred as a result of the intense nature of the storm.
A helicopter fly-over on Wednesday to inspect the area has resulted in a combined effort of forest owners to a programmed recovery which will be co-ordinated over the next few days. The support of logging operators and processing plants in dealing with the sudden influx of supplies is appreciated.
Trees and debris on private property
With the large amount of work to be done on the district’s roads and public spaces, the Council is unable to assist with clearing trees and other debris from private property. Green waste can be disposed of at the city’s waste transfer stations.
Residents are asked to clear debris, including leaves, from their properties to reduce potential problems if it rains. In particular, debris should be cleared from areas near open drains to prevent it getting into the drainage system.
Emergency Manager Max Benseman advises that forecasters say there is no severe weather in store for us for the weekend, with showers/rain overnight Sunday into Monday.