Waikato Regional Council staff and contractors are expected to spend several weeks helping landowners near Te Aroha deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Ita, which hit the Coromandel and surrounding areas just before Easter.
An assessment, including a helicopter flight, after the holiday weekend indicated the council’s part in the clean up would cost around $50,000-$60,000, to be met by a special fund set up for such occasions.
“We had our Te Aroha-based river and catchment services team and contractors working hard with local landowners over Easter,” said Hauraki area manager Jason Roxburgh
“They’ve been working particularly with property owners on the slopes of the Kaimai Ranges which got a big whack from the tail of Ita. One landowner we talked to got 120 mm of rain in one hour last Thursday, while most farmers recorded between 250 to 380 mm in 12 hours.
“That’s the same sort of rainfall as the Thames Coast got in the 2002 weather bomb event, which caused extensive damage on the Coromandel.”
Mr Roxburgh said an example of the problems is that one stream bed is more than two metres lower than it was before the flooding, showing just how strong the flow of water was.
“In other places, some streams have completely left their normal channels and now flow through the middle of farms. So we will need to engineer them back into their original channel.
“There also seem to have been a lot of slips in the foothills of the Kaimai Forest Park. Much of the vegetation, rocks and soil from those has ended up on the farms and roads below. Many farm paddocks are buried in debris and shingle, and we will assist getting this material removed.”
Also, many farms have lost bridges, large lengths of fences, and other internal infrastructure like roads, races, and tracks.
“The council is able to give advice on how to handle these problems. Our staff will have a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks - with helping landowners repair damage to streams, removing debris, and reinstating damaged council flood protection infrastructure,” said Mr Roxburgh.
“If people need help with these sorts of issues, they can contact us on 0800 800 401.”