Clean-up bill to run into millions

It came from there . . . Mike Lord makes a point to Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy during a visit to Mr Lord's flooded farm on the Taieri. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

The Dunedin City Council has already spent $700,000 on the clean-up from the flooding of July 21-22 and the final bill is expected to run into millions of dollars.

That was according to Dunedin City Council recovery manager Simon Pickford in response to questions from The Star this week.

Mr Pickford said more than 200 properties were evacuated during the flooding. The council understood most residents had now returned to their homes.

Last week, after The Star had gone to press, the council re-launched the mayoral relief fund with $60,000.

On Tuesday, Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy announced a Government contribution of $50,000 to the fund.

A council spokeswoman said yesterday other donations to the fund had been received and the total amount now available was unclear.

The fund is available for those affected by the flooding of July 21-22 who have no financial means of undertaking essential cleaning and repair work themselves, were not eligible for government assistance through Work and Income New Zealand, and owned or occupied the affected property as a primary residence.

Mr Pickford said only one application had been received for the fund so far which had not yet been processed.

Nine dangerous building notices were still in place around the city.

Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chairwoman Sarah Nitis said residents affected by the flooding of July 21-22 in two badly hit areas of Mosgiel – Dukes Rd and Riccarton Rd – faced an ongoing clean-up but were better placed than those south of the Taieri River, still waiting for high water to recede.

She thought the council had managed the first phase of emergency response to the flooding well.

The community board released a community long-term plan earlier this week which listed as “urgent” developing a vision for the Taieri flood plain, which ensured resilience and stability for present and future residents.

The document said infrastructure investment had not matched significant development growth on the plain over the past 10 years.

Mrs Nitis told The Star there were “big questions” abut whether the council should encourage further residential growth on the Taieri with matching infrastructure spending, or curb growth until flood mitigation measures caught up.

Elsewhere around the city, normality is returning. Roads throughout the West Harbour area have been reopened and the worst of the slips have been cleared.

On Otago Peninsula, slips along Portobello Rd and Harington Point Rd had cut off various settlements last week but the roads were now open.

This week the Government also announced $800,000 in assistance for Otago farmers affected by the deluge.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy declared the flooding which followed the downpour on July 21 and 22 a medium-scale adverse event.

He made the announcement during a visit on Tuesday to Dunedin city councillor Mike Lord’s property near Henley, to “see first-hand the devastation that this flood has caused”.