Prioritising farmers’ needs, including stock truck access, is a focus for the Wairoa District Council.
All roads in the district are now opened to access level as contractors clean up from the recent heavy rainfall event.
Council prioritised access on all roads, even though this may have been limited to single lane motorbike only. Work is now continuing to further open roads so stock trucks can get to farms and stock can be transported.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little acknowledged the challenges farmers are going through with limited capacity at meat processing plants due to COVID related staff shortages and now stock truck accessibility is creating additional pressures to be able to get stock to sales.
“We are working with farms on a one-on-one basis where necessary to try and meet as many roading network needs as we can. We understand the frustrations many rural people are facing, and we want you to know we are doing everything we can to get our roading network connected as possible.
“The Wairoa district Council is responsible for 875km of roads and at the peak of the rainfall event more than 30 roads were closed due to slips and washouts.
“We are doing the best we can and appreciate the patience and support most farmers have shown us. Council staff have praised the Wairoa farming community’s resilience telling me about the great phone calls they have had with farmers who have just got stuck in to help open roads and looked for solutions. It is great to be able to work in partnership with the farming community. Particularly as we know of farms that have been isolated for over a week and often been without power.
“This event has caused some of the worst damage we have seen in years. As we assess our district, we are seeing evidence of some very severe long-term damage that will need significant investment to repair. I urge people to be realistic, we have a plan, we have set priorities and we will continue to work in a staged approach.
“The 2017 Cyclone Debbie event took us years to recover from and cost around $11million in repair work. This event is worse, and we know costs have escalated.
“Council staff will meet with NZTA Waka Kotahi this week and representatives will view the district and assess the damage.
“I would like to remind anyone who notices damage to roads or any Council infrastructure to please report it to the Council Customer Service Request by phoning 06 838 7309. We are still discovering damage from the rainfall event and while we are assessing everything we can, we cannot be everywhere at once so appreciate everyone’s support.
“I would also encourage farmers who have specific needs, such as roading issues around stock cartage to also please phone the above number as we can only respond if we know issues exist.
“Anyone who would like to contact Council, either to support the district’s recovery or share information or needs is encouraged to please email email@example.com”
The most up to date information on the status of our local roads can be found at https://www.wairoadc.govt.nz/services/roading/
7 April 2022
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