A Silt Recovery Taskforce has been established to address the millions of cubic metres of silt that washed down Hawke’s Bay’s rivers from the hills during Cyclone Gabrielle, devastating homes and properties.
The taskforce, put together by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Hastings District Council, has developed a comprehensive action plan focused on zones with dedicated contractors, and the task is huge, said taskforce lead Darren de Klerk.
“We estimate over five million cubic metres of silt has been deposited on orchards, farms, roads and residential properties across the Hastings district – it will likely take many months, if not years depending on how much silt needs to be removed. We cannot underestimate the scale of the job ahead of us,” he said.
“We have developed a system with six zones across the region, and each zone has dedicated contractors to collect silt from orchards, farms, roads and residential properties. The contractors will also be responsible for picking up any remaining flood-damaged household items within their zones, based on requests lodged with Hastings District Council.” (Council is not assisting residents with clearing silt from within properties, the taskforce is collecting silt once ready for collection, but working in with landowners and insurers to streamline the process to minimise unnecessary double handling.)
Six silt collection sites have been established to manage the material collected.
“We’re working hard to find sites to put the silt we’re collecting, figuring out if these are temporary or permanent, ensuring we’re following environmental rules and consent conditions, and working in with the Severe Weather Emergency Legislation Bill. The taskforce is working on a range of options, and working closely with other councils, industry, and landowners to work towards solutions for the region,” Mr de Klerk said.
“We know lots of people in the community are interested and also concerned about what happens with all the silt. Our team is committed to finding the best solutions we can for our rohe, and we will keep the community updated through our website and social media.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the taskforce had been established in recognition of the need to deal with this enormously hard issue as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“We must help those who are affected to start recovering their properties and restoring their livelihoods regardless of council boundaries.
“To help protect our infrastructure and minimise creating flood hazards, we’re asking residents to gather up the silt and put it within and as close to the boundary of their property as possible, in an area as close as possible to where collectors can get access. This is to keep silt out of drains and reduce the risk of flooding.”
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair Hinewai Ormsby said the taskforce was an important part of the region’s response to the cyclone.
“We’ve seen that working together is the most efficient way to respond to this devastating cyclone. We’re working with Hastings District Council to support the region’s recovery, and this taskforce is committed to work through the issues around silt in our rohe.”
Affected residents can call 0800 108 838 and press '2' to request cyclone-related silt collection. An online form to request silt collection will be up on the website in the next week. Once the request is lodge, the site will be visited by an assessor within three working days and then scheduled into the collection programme.
For more information on silt and for our FAQs visit the website.
6 April 2023
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