23 Jun 2014

Flooding sightseers told to stay away

2:22 pm on 23 June 2014

A Coromandel farmer whose land was hit by flash flooding from this month's severe storm is urging sightseeers to stay away to allow repair work to be speeded up.

Cape Colville at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula.

Cape Colville at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The storm hit many parts of the country on 10 June.

Farmers at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula estimate a metre of rain fell in just six hours, damaging land, farm buildings and equipment, as well as flooding roads. They said it will take years to clean up the damage.

Marcus Ward farms near Colville and said about 300 hectares of his land is now unusable following the storm.

But he said the repair work is being slowed by people driving through the area to check out the damage. He said the traffic from sightseers is restricting the amount of work roading and contracting companies can get done during the day.

Plea for financial help

A Coromandel councillor is hoping to convince local and central government to contribute financially to the clean-up effort.

Waikato regional councillor, Clyde Graf, released a video, showing the damage done to properties by huge trees and boulders sent down eight valleys in the torrent.

Watch the You Tube video here

Many farm paddocks are covered in silt and fences have been washed out to sea so stock cannot be grazed.

Mr Graf said the area will need a lot of help from the regional council and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Harold Ward, a Coromandel beef farmer, said the main house on his farm was ankle deep in water, and is unhabitable.

He said luckily his elderly mother, who lives there, was away at the time of the flood but many of her personal possessions and documents were destroyed.

Waikato Regional Council chairperson Paula Southgate said she will talk with the district's mayor this week to find out what extra help is needed.