Flood damage may cost over half a million

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Damage to roads, culverts and guard rails around the Clutha district following flooding at the end of last year could cost more than half a million dollars in repairs.

Clutha District Council service delivery group manager Jules Witt said the estimated bill of $550,000 was still being updated as more reports of damaged roads trickled in from around the area.

“People spot damage as they drive around on their holidays .. sometimes it takes a month or two for it all to be identified,” Mr Witt said.

The worst affected places were Milton and the Lawrence-Tuapeka area.

Lawrence resident Frieda Betman, who runs The Ark Bed and Breakfast at the intersection of Harrington Pl and the Lawrence-Waitahuna Highway, said “not a damn thing” had changed since the flooding last year had torn up the footpath outside her property and washed piles of gravel into her garden.

“It’s still a mess,” she said. However, she praised Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan’s handling of the situation.

“The mayor’s been fantastic.”

“They [the CDC] have been up and down looking at things. They say they’re going to concrete it.”

Neighbour Barbara Kerr agreed with the assessment that not much had changed concerning the footpath.

Her own property had its access cut off during the flooding, as the driveway joining the front footpath was torn away.

She said the floodwater had also affected her income, as it killed off the trees on the property she usually sold fruit from each year.

Mrs Kerr said council workers had filled in the driveway with gravel but it is “just a temporary fix”.

“It won’t last. It’s already starting to collapse again,” she said.

“I understand they won’t want to fix the footpath until they know they can stop the water coming from the culverts, but we’d just like to have some definite decision of when that will happen.”

Mr Witt said repairs across the district were well under way, with most of the damage likely to be fully repaired within a couple of months.

“There is still some culvert damage about the place. Silt and gravel has washed into places where it shouldn’t be .. Pieces of road still need re-metalled.

“They’re passable, but don’t meet our standards.”

However, it was not all doom and gloom for ratepayers, as the NZ Transport Agency would pay nearly 60% of the cost.

“If it’s a big one, we can make an extra claim [to NZTA] .. council also has an emergency fund that’s available for this sort of thing,” Mr Witt said.