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Storm damage repairs estimated to cost at least 8 million

 
This page contains a news story about the estimated cost of repairs from the major storm on 17 July 2020.
Updated: 26/08/2020 9:42 a.m.

​Whangarei District Council’s end of year financial position has taken a knock, with around $8 million of damage done to our District’s infrastructure during the 17 July storm.

In a short few hours the unexpected storm dumped a record quantity of rain into catchments that flowed into rivers running through and flooding Whangārei city, washing out hillsides, roads, and caused flooding throughout the wider District.

Around $3 million of the repair costs are expected to be covered by insurance and Government contributions. Council will fund the remaining additional costs which are expected to run to $5 million.

“We have a huge job ahead of us, getting things back to normal,” said Council Chief Executive Rob Forlong.

 “We have a very long list and we are working to a schedule to complete the work as quickly as we can. Not only did we have this weather event, but rainfall has been occasionally heavy since then, sometimes damaging the very repairs we have been working on.”

“We have around 730 roading repair jobs resulting from the storm and it will take many months to get everything sorted out. Digger crews are systematically working down sections of roads around the District and clearing slips and culvert entrances as they go along. Culvert clearing and slips should be fixed by the end of October.”

“I do ask people to be patient as we work towards their particular piece of damaged road – we too want this cleared up as soon as possible, but the reality is, the best road building weather is still a few months off and between now and then we just have to do our best between fresh storms.”

“We are planning to keep on going with the capital works and operational spending budgeted for the year, and not to hold off on that scheduled work just because of storm damage. Instead, we will attempt to do what we can from within the existing capital and operational budgets, to borrow if we have to, and in some cases to allocate funding for repairs in the year following the storm.

“We take this approach because Council is in a strong financial position and can generally deal with issues as they arise without compromising our planned works program.”

 “Where possible, repair work will be funded from existing maintenance budgets.  However, it is not anticipated that there will be much from this source, as we need to retain sufficient budget to enable Council’s standard maintenance programme, using budgets that have already been reduced in response to COVID-19.”

“As I have said before – it’s been a hell of a year what with one thing and another. Fortunately, we are in a good position to keep on forging ahead. We will need to continue to reach into our reserves of energy on a lot of fronts, and I know we can do it if we stick together as a district and support each other.”

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