Hamiltonians count their blessings as clean up begins



Road closure on Gordonton road, near Zealong tea Estate last night ( Photo supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, February 14, 2023

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate was among many residents who discussed how lucky the City has been compared to other regions in New Zealand over the past 48 hours.

While a state of regional Emergency was declared last night, on 13 February 2023 which made many residents anxious for the events overnight, it was a precautionary measure to empower the Civil Defence agencies in case the need arose.

While Hamilton was comparatively lucky, it was not completely unaffected.  The city came through better than many parts of the country and our thoughts are with those families and regions which have sustained severe and tragic losses.

After a night of heavy rain and strong winds in Hamilton, the clean-up is now already underway for Hamilton City Council.

More than 350 calls came into the Council overnight along with 138 emails and 75 Antenno messages reporting issues or asking questions.

Council’s Civil Defence Controller Kelvin Powell said the National State of Emergency has not changed what the council was doing on the ground to help the community in Hamilton.

He said, “Our current focus is cleaning up the damage from last night’s wind and rain. Our teams have been working through the night and today to clear trees, fallen branches, and blocked drains, cleaning spills and other debris.”

Landslips cause trouble for the greater Waikato region

He urged people and said, “Some of the larger trees will take time to clear so please be patient, our priority is to make sure areas are as safe as possible for our community.”

A full clean-up is likely to take weeks. But the priority would be to make sure that the area is safe, then ensure any powerlines needing repairs are dealt with, and all major roads or buildings are clear before clearing paths and starting the official clean up for all other parts of the city.

Hamilton City Council’s waters teams have also been out overnight cleaning up pockets of floodwater, repairing overflows and blocked drains, and checking on our gullies and streams.

Mr Powell said, “This is expected to continue for the next couple of days as they assess the damage and check on key parts of the network. Any work around the gullies and streams will begin when water levels are down and it is safe for our teams to do so.”

He said, “Our drinking water is safe, but please remember to stay away from floodwaters, streams, and gullies until these levels go down.”

A fallen tree blocks the road at Hamilton lake (Photo supplied)

Some important updates for Hamilton

  • Taitua Arboretum, Hamilton Lake Domain and playground, and Innes Common sports ground carpark are all currently closed, and arborists will be working to clear fallen trees in the coming days.
  • Low-lying river paths and the Matakanohi Reserve Te Awa path (between Ann Street and St Andrews Golf Course) are closed. Sports fields across the city are also closed to practice today.
  • Rubbish and recycling collections have begun again this morning and will continue all week one day later than usual collection days.
  • Hamilton Zoo will remain closed until at least Friday 17 February due to fallen branches and debris around the site. Hamilton Garden’s Enclosed Gardens will reopen Wednesday 15 February.
  • Waterworld and Gallagher Aquatic Centre will be opening later today, to work on some equipment cut off during some power cuts.
Council has urged people to stay away from damaged areas as clean-ups begin (Photo supplied)

Message by Waikato District Council

Waikato district council said, “We know that many of our communities have been impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Our teams are working alongside partnering agencies to restore impacted infrastructure and ensure the safety of our communities. Despite the majority of warnings and watches being lifted for our district, there is more wet weather yet to come. We are not out of the woods yet.”

The team reminded everyone who was evacuated yesterday to wait for an official assessment before returning home. The District Council Staff will be conducting assessments on buildings and land as soon as practicable and safe to do so.

The public has been urged to stay away from damaged areas as any added presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations and put you at further risk from the residual effects of floods, such as contaminated water, crumbled roads, landslides, mudflows, and other hazards.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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