20 Dec 2011

Cable Bay set to reopen

9:43 pm on 20 December 2011

The small Nelson community of Cable Bay is set to reopen after being closed by slips after last week's devastating floods.

A single lane has been opened to allow residents in and out on Wednesday for the first time in six days.

The small community of 45 households have been depending on drops of food and other necessary supplies by boat or helicopter since the road into the area north of Nelson was closed.

Civil Defence officials say people will be able to get in and out from Wednesday, escorted on a single lane at 10am, 2pm and 5pm.

Residents only will be permitted in and out while geotechnical engineers look at how the full road may eventually be re-opened.

Families briefly allowed into homes

Nine Nelson families were allowed into their flood-affected homes for a brief period on Tuesday to collect essential items.

The houses have been given red stickers, meaning they are currently unsafe to enter and inhabit.

A spokesperson for Nelson Tasman Civil Defence, Chris Choat, says more people will be allowed into their houses for 30 minutes over the next few days - but only those who have registered.

Civil Defence is part-way through its reassessment of previously red-stickered homes. Mr Choat says there are now 97 red stickers, down from the peak of 130.

Under the reassessment, 25 homes have been downgraded to a yellow sticker and eight cleared with a green sticker.

Red indicates the property can't be entered, yellow means restricted use and entering the property at your own risk, and green means safe.

Work under way to protect pipeline

Contractors are building a retaining wall to shore up Nelson's vulnerable water supply pipeline, damaged by slips brought down by last week's intense rainstorm.

Civil Defence officials say the line that feeds households from the Maitai reservoir could collapse unless it is reinforced, leaving the city without piped water.

Engineers completed an assessment on Monday, finding that a 20-metre section of pipe near the water treatment plant remains at risk of breaking if a slip beneath it continues to shift.

It is hoped the retaining wall will be largely completed by Tuesday night.

Nelson households are being urged to limit their water use. Civil Defence Controller Alec Louverdis says it is important to keep reservoir levels as high as possible in case the worst happens.

Geotechnical engineers continue to closely monitor a slip on Nelson's Tahunanui hillside where 30 homes were hastily evacuated on Sunday after cracks appeared in the ground.