16 Jul 2015

Months before flooded homes habitable

7:59 am on 16 July 2015

Some of the residents worst affected by Whanganui's record flood last month may not be able to return home for at least another three months.

Lewis Bunker's lovingly restored VW Beetle is a write-off following the flood.

Lewis Bunker's lovingly restored VW Beetle is a write-off following the flood. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

About 140 homes in Anzac Parade suffered water damage - many were declared unsanitary and require significant work before they can be inhabited again.

At the Anzac Parade home of Clayton Bunker, five industrial fans are running day and night frantically trying to dry the house out.

Mr Bunker said builders had been busy at his place.

"Well basically, they've been in and taken out the gib at about 200mm up I think and now they've got dryers in here and they keep those going and they come back with some water testing probes and find out if the moisture is getting out."

Mr Bunker, who now lives in rented accommodation with his wife and two sons, said he did not expect to move back into his place for about four months.

Anzac Parade resident Clayton Bunker doesn't expect to move back home for four months.

Anzac Parade resident Clayton Bunker doesn't expect to move back home for four months. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Although his insurance did not cover his home's contents he said he would make do getting replacement goods here and there.

He was already looking forward to a promised lump-sum payout from the Earthquake Commission to help clean silt from his land.

"The funny thing was I was saying to house assessor that some poor bugger's got to crawl down under the house and put down polyurethane plastic sheeting and put down some lime and she said 'I'd hate to do that job' and I agreed with her but now it looks like it's going to be me."

Down the road, builder Evan Williams is taking a break from stripping wall linings at another property.

He said the company he worked for had been run off its feet with offers of work.

"We're stripping all the skirting and architraves out then we're cutting the gib out at 600mm above the flood line, stripping all the gib out so they can get dryers in after that to dry all the framing out and the floor. The group we're working for have done about 50 houses so far."

A flood damaged home on Anzac Parade.

A flood damaged home on Anzac Parade. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Evan Williams has lived in Whanganui his whole life and said the flood damage was the worst he had ever seen and some properties would take weeks to dry out before refitting could even begin.

"It depends on how long it takes to dry before we can get back in to put it back together, you see. And then putting it back together would be another four weeks a house I suppose. It just depends on how big they are."

Immediately after the flood in June, the Insurance Council said it had received about 2000 claims which approached $10 million.

It's expecting that to increase substantially when provisional figures are published at the end of this month.

Claims to the EQC close on 22nd September and so far it has processed 150 of the 330 claims it has received as a result of the June floods.

Heavy machinery is being used to clear silt from the Kowhai Park playground and miniature railway.

Heavy machinery is being used to clear silt from the Kowhai Park playground and miniature railway. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

On Taupo Quay in the Whanganui's CBD Frances Sim-Higgins of Leftbank Art Supplies said the building's owners were looking at their options for replacing the flood-damaged wooden floor.

"They hope to cement the whole thing right through and have a polished concrete floor because that makes sense doesn't it for the future.

"So they will have to fund the difference between the floor that would normally be put down and the floor that they want."

Ms Sim-Higgins said the building's owner had applied for a grant from the Powerco Wanganui Trust.

The Wanganui District Council was also accepting applications for assistance from its Mayoral Relief Fund, which is being managed personally by Mayor Annette Main.

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