Two weeks on from Cyclone Cook the cleaning up of the district is well advanced but there is still a lot of work to do, especially in the district’s parks.
It had been a massive job, with more than 80 per cent of Hastings’ 170 parks and reserves needing attention. Some had been particularly hard hit.
“It is still a bit of a battle and we are asking for patience,” said Hastings District Council parks manager Colin Hosford.
Over the weekend after the cyclone, clearing fallen trees from roads and powerlines was the first priority. Teams worked shifts over almost 24 hours for three days to get that work dealt with.
After that the parks were checked for dangerous trees and limbs, with work prioritised based on the danger. Particular priority was given to playgrounds and sports parks – where large numbers of people typically gathered.
“One of the problems is getting the manpower we need. We have roads and parks teams across all our councils in the region looking to the same specialists; and there is also a big call on those same people from private property owners needing to deal with their own trees,” said Mr Hosford.
“We have managed to bring two contracting companies on board, to supplement our in-house team of six, and they are all working extended hours to try and get through the work.”
He said each of the worst hit parks took a long time to clear. “At Frimley Park we lost eight trees with diameters of about two meters, in some cases bigger. These were very large trees that needed to be made safe; chopped up and removed. On top of that there was a huge amounts of downed tree limbs. As one of our councillors said: ‘it looked like a war zone’.”
It took a team of nine almost a week to clean that park up.
In some places branches had been collected into one space in a park, ready for collection once a team became available. “We do ask parents to keep children out of these piles. We will get them cleared out as soon as possible.”
Mr Hosford said safety had to be the first priority. “I know people want their parks back to their normal condition as soon as possible. It will happen, but we think there is probably another two to three weeks work until we can consider it done.”
Even then, there would still be more less-noticeable work to be tackled including stump removal and reinstatement of gardens.osfor
4 October 2017
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