Inadequate drainage blamed for Gita severity in Tasman

12:45 pm on 1 March 2018

Some Riwaka residents are calling for better maintenance of waterways and culverts, as the area recovers from Cyclone Gita.

Flooding in the Takaka valley.

Flooding in the Takaka valley after the cyclone passed. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The area was devastated by the storm last week, with at least five homes red stickered and several roads - including State highway 60 over the Takaka Hill - damaged by slips.

The Tasman District Council held two meetings last night, one in Riwaka and one in Marahau, to update residents on the area's recovery.

Wayne Manderson was at the Riwaka meeting attended by more than 50 locals, and told the meeting he was frustrated about an apparent lack of maintenance of the area's waterways and culverts.

He said if this was done properly, the damage to the area might not have been so severe.

"We've had events like this in the past and [the council] have said [they will] get around to sorting out culverts and maintenance on things and it hasn't happened and we've been smacked again," he said.

"There was bit of disgruntlement from local residents."

Another resident, Josie Butler, also attended last night's meeting.

Her small farm, which provided her family with an income, was badly damaged by the cyclone.

"We've had a lot of pasture lost ... and we've had many, many, many slips," she said.

Ms Butler said some of the meeting's attendees believed more could have been done to prepare for the disaster.

"People were upset, they felt we had too many events and whether there were more things that could be done ... people worried about rates and what they had really got from them."

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne responded to the criticism today. He said the council has regular maintenance programmes for the myriad of culverts and streams it is responsible for, but the public also have a role to play.

Mr Kempthorne said they are not all cleared automatically, and on some occassions the council needs to be notified through its customer service request programme.

He said said 140 contractors are currently out repairing damage in the district.

The council confirmed this morning that seven homes in Marahau, Riwaka and Brooklyn are now uninhabitable, and 13 have been yellow-stickered.

A further three are being assessed by geotechnical experts.

- additional reporting by Tracy Neal

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