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The Thames Coast Rd was among several Coromandel roads that were closed last week after slips. Photo: SUPPLIED/TCDC

Government assistance sought after Cyclone Hale

Coromandel residents have been warned to take “great care” this week after Ex-Cyclone Hale left “considerable damage” to the district.
The rainfall caused significant slips which resulted in the closure of the Thames Coast Road, 309 Road, Kōpū-Hikuai Road, and Kennedy Bay, Colville and Kauaeranga Valley roads.
Mayor Len Salt told The Profile the council would investigate the long term effects of the cyclone.
“There are places like Moanataiari, parts of Thames, Te Puru and the Coast Rd that are vulnerable to storm events, sea level rise and in some cases even the subsidence of the land,” he said.
“We know the urgency of these things and that’s a conversation we need to have with our community and with the government because there are some significant numbers involved and some critical decisions that need to be made.
“The west coast I think it’s clear to say in some ways there’s more urgency particularly around the Thames area so that will be the number one area of focus.”
Mr Salt said due to Cyclone Hale being classified as a one in 20-year event, there would be a large financial impact and he had written to Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty to seek financial assistance from the government.
“We need to lessen the impact on ratepayers as much as possible,” he said.
Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) said while no exact cost figures were confirmed, it expected the bill to repair coastal areas after Ex-Cyclone Hale would run into ‘serious’ six figures.
“We’ve already made a start removing debris, and fixing and fencing off infrastructure and assets along the coast that pose health and safety risks or have been damaged and are unsafe to use,” council said.
Council said while all roads were now reopened, “great care” was still advised for motorists.
“Further tree falls and slips can occur due to waterlogged ground,” council said.
“Our staff and contractors will still be on the local roads clearing debris and repairing damage for some time, and some areas may still suffer damage as the soils move while drying out.
“Some of the larger areas will require deeper investigation and longer term repairs in the future.”
Council described Ex-Cyclone Hale as “one in 20-year storm event” and said the rainfall the district had experienced since the beginning of January had broken all records.
“In the short space of 11 days we’ve had the level of rainfall we normally get in five months,” council said.
“According to the regional monitoring network, Waikato Regional Council, the saturation levels on the Coromandel are unprecedented. It has been confirmed that the Coromandel has received 800mm of rain so far this year, a new record.
“Normally this volume is not reached until May.”